In context: The idea of game streaming is certainly exciting, and while there are plenty of skeptics out there, it is happening. Just like Netflix and Spotify before it, streaming continues to transform the way we consume media. Likewise, game streaming will come with some serious ramifications for network traffic and data plans. We have yet to see how ISPs will respond, but I suspect newfangled "gaming" plans are on the horizon.
Google announced more specifics on its upcoming game streaming platform slated to debut in November. Google has now detailed pricing plans, some games, and most importantly, connection requirements. It's that last part that may give prospective Stadia subscribers some hesitation.
Google recommends a minimum connection speed of 10Mbps for streaming at 720p, while 20Mbps should net you a steady 60 frames per second at 1080p. Google claims a 35Mbps connection is sufficient for a steady 4K stream at 60 frames per second. That all sounds well enough, until you start to realize how much data those streams are using.
Per PC Gamer's math, the numbers work "out to around 15.75GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5GB per hour at 720p." At 4K, that means 1TB per 65 hours of game streaming, or 113 hours at 1080p.
With a big portion of internet plans -- depending on where you reside -- subjected to a data cap and most of them being set at 1TB by default, the advent of game streaming will warrant a certain amount of caution. Otherwise, gamers run the risk of incurring data cap fees from ISPs. Perhaps Google will have more to say about this closer to launch.
Google Stadia will release with a $10/month subscription, as part of the Founder's Edition that also includes a special blue controller, necessary hardware, and access to 4K streaming. There's also a Stadia Base plan that won't require a subscription, limiting streaming to 1080p.