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Google Stadia reportedly uses 1 TB of data in 65 hours for 4K streaming

Google Stadia
Google Stadia (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Stadia is an upcoming game streaming service.
  • It can stream up to 4K resolution and 60 frames per second on a 35 Mbps connection.
  • PC Gamer analyzed the requirements and determined that you use around 16 GB per hour with that.
  • Overall, 4K streaming will burn through most 1 TB data caps in 65 hours.

Today, Google officially revealed Stadia pricing and other information. Stadia is the company's game streaming service, which is expected to launch with a couple of dozen games in November. Only the "Stadia Pro" subscription will be available in 2019, with a free "Stadia Base" membership coming in 2020. Both memberships don't come with the latest games, so you'll have to buy them separately through through Google Play Store.

Google revealed the bandwidth requirements for the service, and you need a 35 Mbps connection to play games at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Unfortunately, this means that the data usage is quite high. While previous estimates said that Stadia needs 20 GB per hour, it seems like the latest figures are a little lower. PC Gamer managed to do an in-depth analysis of the data usage. The outlet said the following.

That works out to around 15.75 GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9 GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5 GB per hour at 720p.That's about what we expected, though as with all streaming services, if you plan to use it a lot and don't have an unlimited data plan, you'll want to exercise caution. Even with a 1 TB data plan... from Comcast... that's 65 hours of streaming per month at 4K. And that's assuming I don't do anything else on the internet. At 1080p 60 FPS, it comes to 113 hours of streaming per month, assuming no other data usage.

If you're a gamer and are considering Stadia, be sure that you know how much data is required. Even though you may not be aware, a lot of internet providers have data caps. For example, mine is 1 TB as well. If I go over this limit, there are additional fees. This may be the biggest limitation to Stadia at the moment, even if the input-lag issues are addressed.

Are you interested in Stadia? Do you have data caps? Let us know. Microsoft is going to unveil Project xCloud, it's own game streaming service, at E3 2019 on June 9. The company has to acknowledge the data requirements if it wants to be transparent with gamers. The "streaming wars" have just started, and it'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming years.

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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

25 Comments
  • If ISPs had issues when Netflix started to use all the bandwidth, they're going to definately going to shi a brick when Google starts rolling stadia out.
  • They're not going to shi a brick. They're going to cash in on the overages. They're going to throttle people, and offer gamer plans for a 'bit' more money.
  • Well said, it's almost like what's currently happening with TV streamers.
  • Indeed. From what I've read, even @4K HDR the bandwidth requirements are still less than half that of Stadia on max settings.
  • Honestly, what did people expect? Data doesn't just magically transfer and we are talking ridiculous amounts of information being sent, you could make it smaller but image quality will suffer, that's a fact.
  • I didn't expect differently. I'm actually worried about the data consumed with just 1080p. It will certainly be more than video, and that eats a lot over a month. I'm still looking forward to streaming in the future, just when I'm not paying for data. 😜
  • Agreed, and I'm in a sucky situation where Australia's mobile internet is amazing, we're 5th or 6th in the World, but our home broadband is abysmal, around 30th-40th. As a result there is not a single provider that offers meaningful data limits for mobile internet, only home broadband, because they know that if you could actually get unlimited mobile (or even a 1 or 2 TB plan) there isn't a sane person alive that wouldn't use it for their home internet. It's so very frustrating. Even our upcoming fast internet, NBN, which is only in select areas at the moment, is still slower than our 4G mobile network, it's insane. And they've already started rolling out 5G which broadens the gap even further.
  • Ah, the advantages of a small country. I can barely get good cell service in my house, forget outside major cities. Home speeds are the same, good in the city, suck or non-existent in the boondocks.
  • In the US at least our relatively poor internet infrastructure and ISPs who are slow to upgrade and who overcharge for inferior products make this a poor option for serious gamers. Basically the same for xCloud. Home internet is going to be just like cell phone data soon. Everything will be outrageously expensive and more data will cost way more. Wasn't capitalism and competition supposed to make this better not worse?
  • It already is like that. Most big ISPs charge for a data cap now, at least in some of their markets. People act like 1 TB is a ton of data, not in 2019!
  • To be fair, even for wireless routers at home, they're going to struggle with congestion if everyone starts throwing streaming gaming into the mix. There is a finate amount of wireless bandwdith that has to be shared between not only your router's wifi signal, but everyone else who has a wifi router close by as well.
    And while 35 MB/s isn't much for a very fast wifi connection like Wifi 6, older wifi standards like wifi 4 (802.11n) definately will do if all your neighbours start to chugg on the stadia juice at the same time.
  • Don't worry folks. 5G will save us. It will be unlimited, ubiquitous, and virtually free.
  • Yeah, we have our first 5G rollouts in Oz, for $104 per month you can get a whopping 100GB of data. WOW! It's also got coverage of about ten suburbs out of a few hundred in Melbourne.
  • Is it really that bad? I figured it would suck at first, but damn.
  • Yeah, and that's the highest plan available, the rest are cheaper, but offer less data.
  • It is absolutely that bad. It's so bad our stupid government has created two versions of the network infrastructure. One which is actually decent but only available to the minority. And another that is about as stale, old and feasible as the people pushing the policy. 20 years of broadband and it's still only 16 Mbps...
  • Yay, Comcast and your crappy 1TB cap. If only Google had gone through with its Fiber push.
  • That statement is incredibly right. Google dropped the ball on that big time. Had they rolled out their fiber, they would be in a situation to have data caps, but ignore them if you buy into stadia.
  • Hahaha, I didn't even think about that. Then they could make legal 'fast lanes' that prioritize their service.
  • It's always funny to read about data caps and internet cost in the US :D. For such a big consumer market, you would think there would be competition among the ISPs.
  • Unfortunately, what has happened is one major provider has tied up licencing with communities. They like to say there is competition but they are comparing cable or dsl and wireless and saying they are the same. There really is no competition between the cable operators.
  • That's because the US is using turn of the last century laws to lead telecommunication companies. They are treated like utilities and are allowed to have legal monopolies. They are supposed to be controlled by state and local regulators because of this, but unlike other utilities, they are allowed to basically make their own rules as technology changes.
  • Yikes.. And still Google is surprised by all the "Preorder Canceled" rage on twitter. This is just 1 excuse.
  • Right now Stadia sucks. Only 28 games, only 2 of them I want to play. Any now it would eat up all my broadband data! I want to see what xCloud can do . . .
  • Data caps are going to kill these streaming options before they even get started. Comcast caps me at 1TB which I would blow through in a month of gaming on Stadia. I hope Xcloud uses much less data and is much more feasible. For this service I would likely only use it on my phone or Surface Go with a controller. The problem then will be my mobile data cap through Verizon. I have "unlimited" however after 15GB they start to throttle me. I feel like game streaming will burn that up quite quickly but we'll see what Microsoft has to offer. The unfortunate reality is caps are real and likely aren't going anywhere.