Google Stadia boss believes ISPs will meet data needs for game streaming services

Google Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison said that data caps aren't a universal challenge.


Right before E3 2019, Google had unveiled the details about its game streaming service known as Stadia. After the announcement, its bandwidth was one of the topics in debate considering the high data requirements to stream 1080p and 4K content. However, Google Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison thinks that it won’t be a big enough challenge for the service.

Google Stadia boss believes ISPs will meet data needs for game streaming services

The controller also features a USB-C port on top and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Stadia is a game streaming service that will allow users to stream and play games on several supported devices without needing a powerful gaming PC or console. The service will enable gamers to play games on any Chrome browser, Chromecast Ultra dongle or a Pixel 3 smartphone including Pixel 3a (using the Stadia app). It was initially announced at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year.

In an interview with GameSpot, he said that ISPs will fulfill the demands of its customers when required. Harrison went on to cite how ISPs have increased data caps as music and video streaming evolved over time and he expects the same to continue with Stadia and similar game streaming services.

Although it sounds like a natural progression, cloud game streaming services such as PlayStation Now and GeForce NOW have been around for a while. They didn’t receive mainstream acceptance yet and it’s too early to say whether the new entrants like Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud will be able to pull it off. Only if the adoption of this emerging trend of cloud gaming is widespread enough, only then will ISPs even consider pushing its data caps further up.

Harrison also thinks that 5G technology will also be a solution to the bandwidth problem. He said, "There’s a very interesting additional dynamic happening in the internet market, which is the evolution of 5G, particularly in what’s called fixed wireless, which is not necessarily running 5G on your phone but as a way of bringing 5G into your home. All of the 5G fixed wireless businesses that are up now that I’m aware of have no data caps and are very very high performance, so that’s introducing a competitive dynamic. $50 a month. That’s what Verizon fixed wireless costs is for minimum 300mb/s and up to a gigabit. It’s pretty good value to me."

Google Stadia bandwidth requirements.

Google Stadia bandwidth requirements.

For the best experience on Google Stadia with 4K, HDR, 60 fps and 5.1 surround sound, users will need a bandwidth of 35 Mbps. Google’s minimum bandwidth requirement is 10 Mbps that will deliver 720p, 60 fps and stereo sound. The company says that since the streams will go through compression algorithms, the bandwidth requirement won’t be the same as the theoretical value.

For a monthly fee of $10, gamers will be able to stream games at 4K resolution and HDR quality at a frame rate of 60 fps with 5.1 surround sound, in the Stadia Pro subscription plan. There’s a premium Stadia Founder’s Edition that can be pre-ordered at a price of $130. It includes a limited-edition ‘Night Blue’ Stadia controller, Chromecast Ultra, three months of Stadia Pro subscription pack, exclusive Stadia username, buddy pass for a friend to try Stadia Pro for three months and the full Destiny 2 game including the latest expansions.

A free tier will also be coming out in 2020 that will be limited to 1080p and 60 fps streaming with stereo sound, but its details haven’t been revealed it. Google Stadia will be rolling out in 14 different countries and territories starting from November 2019.