Google announced its new video game streaming platform Stadia today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Almost as soon as the company wrapped its presentation, questions were asked about how powerful one's internet must be to run triple-A games. Google was quiet on the specifics, but essentially Google is confident that Stadia will be no more taxing on an average internet user than YouTube videos.
Speaking with Google's director for games business development Jack Buser, the company revealed in a roundabout way the kind of internet a user will need to get Stadia games up and running. "You can think of Stadia a lot like YouTube," Buser says. "So if you're able to get a high-fidelity YouTube experience in your home, you're probably in pretty good shape for Stadia."
So, what does that mean exactly? Again, Google didn't share specific numbers when we asked what we're looking at to get Stadia games running in 4K HDR at 60fps, as Google promised was capable on stage today. Instead, Buser asked if I was able to stream 4K YouTube videos in my own home. If so, then I can probably run 4K games off Stadia. I can, but I have fiber internet which can clock in 800-900 mbps.
And what about data caps for users with limited bandwidth? What's the toll for Stadia looking like for those internet users? "It's fun to keep coming back to this, but it's very true," Buser says. "[Stadia] is actually a lot like Netflix or YouTube in terms of overall experience and consumption of media. So, if you're watching lots of video content with no issue, you're probably in good shape for Stadia."
Google seems confident that Stadia will work as effortlessly for users as YouTube does on browsers and phones. But without real-world testing it's difficult to imagine that this will be the case in actual use. Demos for Stadia here at GDC are connected directly to the internet at the Moscone Center and seem to run just fine. But these aren't conditions across the world or even across the United States. Google will have a lot to prove to back up claims that Stadia will be comparable to a Netflix or YouTube experience.
In the meantime, we have our doubts that Google Stadia will be able to live up to its lofty promises in the wild. So does the general gaming population. When asked for their reaction following today's keynote, the bulk of the responses concerning Stadia centered around Internet connections and data caps.
You can check out our everything we know about Google Stadia guide, and list of confirmed games and developers working on Google's platform for more coverage. Expect a full interview with Jack Buser as well as hands-on impressions with Google Stadia soon.