The streaming option for video games is currently at a nexus with ISPs that feel too much data use should cost more money and nothing makes that clearer than Google Stadia. The service streams games to players’ various devices in different resolutions depending on whether you’re a subscriber to Stadia Pro or not. If you are looking for that 4K streaming experience, you better not have data caps.
While Google wouldn’t talk data caps, they did talk about how much data you were expected to use by virtue of saying the minimum download speeds you would need. At 35Mbps, you can stream games in 4K. So, PCGamer did the math from there.
“Google says it can provide a steady 60fps 4K stream with a bitrate of 35Mbps. That’s the high end of the streaming requirements, while 1080p at 60fps drops the bandwidth to 20Mbps, and 720p 60fps requires just 10Mbps. That works out to around 15.75GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5GB per hour at 720p.”
Which then means after about 65 hours, you will hit 1TB. Comcast, the largest internet service provider in the United States, puts a 1TB limit for data per month in a number of markets across the country. Presumably, people plan to do other things with that data during the month besides just play Mortal Kombat 11, but the option for it only exists up to 65 hours. After that, Comcast charges customers an extra $50 for unlimited data for the month.
Now is probably a good time to mention that Comcast has never really answered why they institute data caps or what resource they believe is being drained from data usage over the 1TB line. They are not the only ISP that institutes data caps, however, but none are really able to answer those questions. Still, if you are one of those people on a data cap, Stadia at 4K may not be the platform where you binge games.