One large concern that many people have with Google Stadia is that of its internet usage. Indeed, game streaming will eat up a lot of data at a time—particularly in ultra high 4k resolution—and many people fear that these excessive amounts may even lead them to hit their ISP’s data cap.
What Is A Data Cap?
Data caps are tools implemented by ISPs, most often those who have little competition in their region and operate as something of a monopoly for their clients; companies who, therefore, do not feel the pressure to offer a competitive service for their customers. Data caps are limits on the amount of data that a person can use, even on an unlimited data plan, and going over these data caps can lead to extra charges.
Now, most people will very rarely get close to their data caps. However, high usage of ultra high 4K game streaming could very well bring people close, if not over, these preset caps.
(You can read more about the ways in which data caps will effect Google Stadia in our recent article on how much data Stadia will use here)
Google Not Concerned About Data Caps: How Stadia May Trigger The Removal Of Data Caps
At the Google Stadia AMA on Reddit last week, director Andrey Doronichev was asked the question of, “is anything being done to combat data caps”? While the answer was, sadly, no, Doronichev did share a little of his own wisdom and expectations with the commentators.
Stadia Internet Usage Controls
One of the first steps in which Google Stadia will help its users to manage and monitor their data consumption will be through the use of special features and controls, which will effectively allow a Stadia user to adjust the data using nature of their gameplay in order to meet their needs. While no specifics were given, it seems likely that these such controls may include the most energy draining aspects of traditional gaming—primarily those features such as the frame rate and playback quality.
How Stadia May Trigger The Removal Of Data Caps
When Youtube was first launched and saw its first global following, ISPs supposedly made changes to their existing data plans and data caps in order to meet the demand for greater internet usage. Doronichev, who was previously an employee and member of the Youtube team, said he saw this very occurrence himself—and would not, therefore, be surprised if ISPs made changes to their existing data offerings based on Googe Stadia and cloud gaming and the possibilities that such technology can offer.
As such, there is the possibility that Google Stadia (if it performs as well as hoped, anyway) could trigger the increase or even the removal of the currently implemented data caps! While this is not confirmed in any way and is little more than speculation on the part of the Google Stadia team, if the ISPs have done it before for Youtube, it seems possible that a new generation of cloud gamers may have the power to convince them to do so in order to enable and help the cloud gaming industry as well.