Phil Harrison recently sat with several journalists to talk about Stadia. According to Matt Purslow (writing for IGN), the Google vice president doesn’t think current US internet service data caps will be an issue for Stadia in the future. Remembering that according to Google themselves, streaming in 4K will require at least a 35 Mbps line – the statement may sound a little unrealistic (especially for us South Africans dealing with generally abysmal speeds and sky-high costs). However, Harrison’s reasoning isn’t that current data caps will be sufficient, but rather that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will adapt.
As explained in Purslow’s article, Harrison identified how it was the rise in popularity of music streaming and then later video streaming that prompted ISPs to improve their offerings and increase their data caps in the past. Hence, the Google VP believes in the future, the increased popularity of streaming services (including gaming) that demand much larger amounts of data will ‘force’ ISPs to up-scale their plans.
For us in SA, the argument may still seem rather laughable and since there are as of yet no indications as to if/when Stadia will come to our country it may be moot anyway. That being said, I remember not so long ago several people saying that services like Netflix working in South Africa were still a decade or more away. And yet… what were you watching last night?
Just how far away game streaming is, is definitely up for debate. But one thing’s for sure – often these things happen much faster than we expect.