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Data caps would kill Google Stadia for a reported 17% of gamers

Stadia's data usage isn't 100% clear yet, but the early estimates don't look great

Google Stadia

Stadia lands soon, and Google’s big play for streaming your games still has a lot to prove. One of the biggest concerns players have had is about data caps. Internet service providers continue to put hard limits on your data usage, and 4K streaming at 60fps is heavy on the bandwidth. According to one survey of broadband users, average gaming habits mean that 17% of players would find their hobby stymied on Stadia.

The US-based NPD Group reported in 2014 that 34 million ‘core gamers’ spend an average of 22 hours a week playing games. An estimate from PC Gamer suggests that Stadia will use about 15.75GB per hour of 4K gameplay.

In a survey from Broadband Now, 17% survey respondents say they have a data cap, so even at a generous estimate of one terabyte – many caps are significantly lower – six million regular gamers would be out of luck on Stadia. The survey suggests a further 21% of people don’t know whether they have a cap or not, which could make further trouble for players choosing Stadia.

Earlier this year, Google’s Phil Harrison told GameSpot that ISPs will likely increase their data caps as more users start to use streaming services, and suggests that the data usage estimates are a little extreme – Stadia likely won’t use its full potential bandwidth the whole time, after all – but didn’t offer any alternative numbers.

Stadia’s “negative latency” tech has generated plenty of suspicious publicity recently, with the promise that the streaming tech will – eventually – feel more responsive and run faster than they do locally. Yet we won’t find out either way if our ISPs are constraining the data.

The Stadia release date is set for November. For now, you can follow that link for plenty more details on what to expect from the streaming service.