At Google's GDC 2019 keynote address, the company shocked the gaming world with the announcement of its Stadia platform. Stadia promises to be the next-generation of video gaming, delivering instant access to triple-A video games regardless of what hardware the player has at their disposal. While the Stadia presentation impressed many, the question remained what kind of Internet connection would be required to actually use the service effectively, but that has since been cleared up by Phil Harrison.
According to Harrison, the recommended Internet speed to play Google Stadia games at 1080p/60 frames per second is 25 megabits per second. Harrison clarified that Google Stadia can work with "less than that," but that is Google's recommended limit. Those who want to play in 4k resolution will need at least 30mbps, which admittedly isn't a huge jump.
Harrison then added that Google Stadia will handle the resolution and frames per second "in the background," with it being determined by the capabilities of one's Internet speed. Essentially, this should make Google Stadia much more accessible than many anticipated after the keynote, but it appears those in rural areas with poor Internet speeds will still be missing out.
Google Stadia's Internet speed requirement could be what keeps it from dominating the next-generation of video gaming when it releases later this year. Evidence points to both the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox offering robust streaming services as well, though they will also have traditional consoles that will presumably be able to play games offline. This would make an investment in a PS5 or next Xbox instead of Google Stadia make a lot more sense for someone with unreliable Internet (which is unfortunately a huge chunk of the United States).
Another hurdle that may keep people from enjoying Google Stadia are Internet data caps. Some ISPs enforce especially strict data caps that already make things like watching Netflix a pain, let alone streaming triple-A video games in 4K resolution and at 60 frames per second. Data caps could be another reason why gamers decide to go with a different console instead of getting too heavily invested in Google Stadia.
However, as technology continues to advance and high-speed Internet becomes more widely adopted, it seems that Google Stadia will eventually become a viable option. The service is future-proofed in that it is technically capable of providing 8k resolution at 120 frames per second, so perhaps it will hit its stride a few years down the road instead of right out of the gate.
Google Stadia will launch in 2019.