As much as it sounds like, Google Stadia is a bandwidth hog, which could quickly send you over your monthly data allowance with your ISP. How quickly might this happen? Well, way quicker than you might expect. Here’s the lowdown.
As video game streaming quickly becomes a thing of either the past or the future, depending on what way you see it, many have begun to wait to see what Google Stadia is capable of. One of the biggest hurdles it has to clear is one that has remained quite clear with many others, including the fact that it could eat up your bandwidth allowance.
Unfortunately, that’s one major hurdle that the collective of gamers in the United States has to concern themselves with when they begin to consider just how small those data allowances are unless you’ve managed to sign-up for an unlimited data plan. On average, games range from 50GB to 120GB with an average installation and patching.
To shed some light on things, I decided to connect Shadow on my Tablet to my phone’s hotspot, shutting down any unnecessary apps, and then beginning the data usage monitor for Shadow itself. Truth be told, I was astonished to see that Shadow didn’t eat at my data as much as I thought it would.
“Even games such as Wolfenstein: Youngblood doesn’t use near as much data as you would expect, averaging roughly 4-5GB of data per session”
Per-hour, I was averaging roughly 1GB of data in 1080p playing games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution on maximum settings and ensuring that I could get the most out of the game as possible. Even games such as Wolfenstein: Youngblood doesn’t use near as much data as you would expect, averaging roughly 4-5GB of data per session. A major difference in what VentureBeat’s Jeff Grub experience in his time with Google Stadia.
In his article, Jeff explains that Google Stadia is just as much of a data hog as consumers thought it would be. Just as you might know, Google Stadia does warn that it can use between 4.5GB and 20GB of data per hour, a tremendous change in usage compared to what typical streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and even streaming client Shadow by Blade Group use.
In his piece, Jeff states that at 4K at 60 frames per second falls right in line with his overall experience, using up a whopping 20GB of data in a single session of gaming. In order to track this, however, Jeff did set up a control group much like my own, putting Stadia on a Chromecast Ultra with a Stadia controller, using his phone as a hotspot and monitoring the data-usage tracker built-into Android’s OS itself.
“With the average data cap being between 200GB and 400GB, you can expect to easily chew through that within a month, even a week”
In a 13 minute session, Jeff Grub recorded an astounding 1.55GB total data used with an average data per minute at 199MB with an estimated 7.14GB of data per hour. The game used in his control group was Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1080p60. Now, if you were to take 4K resolution into consideration, the data usage could actually double, and with the fact that Red Dead Redemption 2 takes between 40-50 hours to complete, making it a rather hefty monster in the terms of total data usage.
With the average data cap being between 200GB and 400GB, you can expect to easily chew through that within a month, even a week, depending on how much you couple Google Stadia with your average daily usage. That could actually be eaten up within a week at most if you plan on gaming on a non-stop basis.
Now, Jeff also explains another important piece of information, “just to play through the story of Red Dead Redemption 2, you will use more than 335GB of data on Stadia. Again, that’s at 1080p60. At 4K, you’re likely using at least twice that.”
And he’s right. Just the game alone is an approximately 150GB download on PC with consoles not falling too far behind it. That also doesn’t include the fact you might spend time in Red Dead Online, which means it could take a lot more data than that if you play online. Granted, Stadia doesn’t require you to download updates as they are made available due to its closed-environment experience.
Now, if you have an unlimited data cap on your bandwidth, you’re going to be golden, but if you are someone on a fiber internet such as Xfinity’s 1TB cap, as explained by Jeff, you will consume that in roughly 50 hours when only figuring in Google Stadia in 4K60 on its own. That’s not including your downtime with updating your PC, games, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or whatever else you do when you are online.
At this point, the all-digital future with streaming services isn’t all that great and it seems like Google Stadia may have bigger struggles than Google imagined moving forward.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.