Google’s big streaming project has landed, and the Stadia reviews are here. In short, it’s good tech paired with a questionable service, but there’s still one big outstanding question: just how much data are these streams going to use? A rough estimate from early stats suggested that Stadia would use around 15.75GB per hour of 4K gameplay, but it seems even that was a bit conservative.
Google now warns that Stadia’s video can use up to 20GB of data per hour for 4K, 60fps video. But what about lower resolutions? GamesBeat tested the service at 1080p 60fps, and found that it used 119MB per minute, which would make just over 7GB per hour. Digital Trends’ test on a Pixel 3a – which boasts a roughly 1080p screen – used up 10.2GB per hour.
While early worries over Stadia’s data cap problems were tempered with the fact that we didn’t actually know how the platform would use data in the real world – but the numbers don’t look great.
For comparison, Netflix’s official help site suggests that it uses around 3GB per hour of HD video.
Stadia streaming alternatives have been around for ages, and new services like Microsoft’s xCloud are on the horizon. Whether any of them – or Stadia itself – manages to break through the streaming barrier remains to be seen.