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

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.