Google Stadia's 4K streaming subscription is going to struggle to coexist with modern American internet service data caps, claims a recent study. BroadbandNow, an internet availability tracking firm, recently published its findings regarding Google Stadia's impact on US households. Needless to say, its findings were astonishing. According to BroadbandNow's report, nearly 6 million video game players would crush their data caps if they used Google Stadia's service regularly.
The study uses the NPD's official numbers for how many people are playing games and how often. Specifically, 34 million people play games on average 22 hours a week. At this rate of play, those gamers would eat through roughly 1,386GB of monthly data if they played exclusively on Google Stadia's 4K streaming service. And that's without considering how much traffic they'd use outside of gaming. With at least 17% of BrodbandNow's surveyed respondents saying they have a data cap, that's a potential 6 million gamers who would be in a bad situation.
BroadbandNow's conclusions are a huge red flag for any American gamers with data caps. Though, truthfully, gamers with data caps likely already understand the struggle of managing their downloads and online usage. It's likely that Google Stadia, especially it's 4K streaming option, isn't going to be a consideration for them. Nevertheless, the information at hand shows that Google Stadia has serious technical hurdles to overcome in the USA where data caps are only growing more and more prevalent.
Google has previously commented on the possibility of data caps in the USA affecting the growth of its Stadia service. Google VP Phil Harrison is quoted as saying that as online services have grown popular, data caps have moved up. Harrison believes this will continue to be the case going forward. And beyond that, Harrison says that "it's actually a relatively small number of markets that have [data caps]." In so many words, Google doesn't take data caps seriously.
The frustrating truth of the situation is that, no matter how many gamers could be affected by ISP data caps, none of them really should be. Research continues to show that data caps serves no technical purpose, that they're de facto fees on segments markets with no competition. The FCC stripped federal net neutrality rules with the onset of the Trump presidency, leaving ISP customers vulnerable to such actions. Game players just happen to be affected by these political issues more than most. Google Stadia being just one example of many proving that point.
Google Stadia launches in November.