In many ways, game streams like Google Stages and Microsoft xCloud can be great solutions for casual players. Instead of having to buy new consoles or upgrade their computers every two years, people can run games on cloud servers that host Google or Microsoft and play them on virtually any modern gadget with a screen: phone, TV, laptop, tablet etc. And while Microsoft hasn't revealed a lot of information about xCloud's pricing structure, Google has announced that Stadia will be available as both a 10-subscription service with access to a curated library of games or completely free for those who prefer to buy games individually.
But just because Microsoft and Google have figured out a way to take hardware considerations from the equation does not mean that there are no other limitations, namely your internet connection. Not only will your gaming flow rate depend on the speed of your data connection, but if you play a lot, depending on your ISP (Internet Service Provider), you can also run in computer screens.
At Stadia's highest graphics setting, game search at 4K and 60 frames per second, 1TB extracts data in about 65 hours. It works for just over 15 hours of play per week, which if you are a regular player is not that difficult to do. If you go down to 1080p at 60 fps, you get more out of your data, as it takes about 115 hours to hit the same 1TB.
This puts a lot of pressure on your ISP to deliver a connection that makes the game flowing worthwhile. Which is a bit disturbing as last year, Microsoft released a report claiming that more than 160 million Americans (about half of the country) do not have broadband internet access, which is defined as internet at speeds of at least 25 Mbps. Previously, the number of US residents without access to the broadband Internet thought to be close to 25 million.
Similar issues from Akamai also highlight this concern, as the latest report on the US broadband speed calculates nationwide internet speeds that only shy of 19 Mbps. However, the Akamai report may be a bit outdated, as the number of numbers goes back to 2017. The numbers from Ooklas Speedtest.net claim that the average speed for fixed broadband in the US is actually a whopping 120.3 Mbps, indicating that if you have actual access to broadband internet (which is a separate problem), it should be able to handle gaming streaming services.
But with the success of the game flow so dependent on your ISP, we decided to reach out to the top five Internet service providers in the US to see what they have to say about the arrival of gaming streaming services. To begin with, the good news is that each provider has at least one service option that should be able to hit the 35 Mbps limit for Stadia's 4K settings (again this is site dependent). However, the rules for home-based computer tablets are not the same for all vendors, so here's what you need to know.
In the case of the United States largest broadband provider, it is tricky. That's because while Xfinity subscribers in southern, western, and mid-west regions are limited to 1TB per month, those in northeastern Maine from Delaware to East to Ohio actually have unlimited broadband data.
If you are at Xfinity in one of the restricted regions and you plan to stream, you can pay an additional $ 50 per month to get the 1TB limit removed. Otherwise, you may be subject to transfer fees. Xfinity will not charge you for the first two months you go over. But after that, you pay $ 10 for every 50GB bit over 1TB up to another $ 200 a month more.
Whew, it's complicated!
When I came out to a Comcast representative to find out more, I was told about the phone that less than five percent of users come anywhere near the 1TB cap. But with the emergence of gaming streams that certainly affect the average data usage, the Comcast representative also noted that Comcast always evaluates the data cap laws and is open to adjusting these limits as needed.
While we were unable to "reach a Charter Spectrum representative for an official statement. According to the Charter for Acquisition of Time Warner Cable in 2016, Charter Spectrum may not introduce data capsules or sell redundancy plans until 2023.
AT&T usually attracts data at 1TB a month and requires you to pay an extra $ 30 per month to remove the cover, even if noted in an email statement to Gizmodo it has at least one plan that allows unlimited data without any extra charges. (The deep focus is ours.) "19659018]" AT & T broadband customers with Internet 1000 already get unlimited data and customers on other plans receive a 1TB monthly data expense . Those with lower speed plans always have the option of adding unlimited data for $ 30 per month or getting this benefit included when registering for both AT & T broadband and a premium video service. This unlimited grant applies to all types of data flow, including online games. "
Verinson's gaming stream statement is also relatively simple because its fiber optic network has no computer capsules of any kind. However, in a statement to Gizmodo, the company still managed to squeeze in a reference to the potential for gaming streams on its mobile 5G networks in addition to broadband in the home.
"Verizon Fio's fiber network is a good solution for players and cloud-based gaming services. Our fiber network, without data cap, gives itself low latency and symmetrical internet retrieval and upload speeds to our customers, critical opportunities for our gaming community. In addition, our new 5G network provides lower latency and faster speeds for the power games on the go. "
As for the part about using 5G for gaming on the go, it will be a bit difficult, especially in 2019 as the Verizon 5G wireless network is currently limited to only two cities: Chicago and Minneapolis, but Verizon has promised to Expand its 5G coverage to more cities by the end of the year.
It should be noted that Verin's 4G network in the PC Mags latest wireless network report proved to have an average mobile broadband rate of 59.4 Mbps, which should be fast enough to you should be able to use game streams on your phone, but the same could be said of all major carriers, because even the carrier with the lowest average nationwide data rates (T-Mobile) is still theoretically more than fast enough to support 4K game streams with an average wireless speed at 52.5 Mbps, the bigger problem of streaming games to your phone wirelessly is data capsules, Although many of the parent cell plans claim that you have unlimited data, it is not true, and in reality users are usually limited to 25 to 55 GB of data per month before your speeds are flashing. Verizon will have to review the policy if it wants users to regret games over 5G.
Finally, Cox, which has similar limitations for Comcast, has 1TB monthly bandwidth data, with additional data available for $ 10 in 50GB increments. In a statement to Gizmodo, Cox says:
"Cox supports a host of streaming apps with our broadband service and cloud-based apps are no different. With gigabit speeds available to more than 90% of our customers (and all households at the end of year, we offer the experience that all our customers need, and in addition, Cox has a generous 1 Terabyte per month in all our plans, while more than 95% of Cox High Speed Internet customers will not exceeding the amount of data included in their plan. "
All this means that even for players with access to fast broadband internet, it is still important to consider how much data streaming services can suck up, especially since the numbers above do not affect anyone else. data usage as streaming videos, downloading apps or anything else you do online.
Unfortunately, there is no super simple formula to figure out what might be the best or most cost-effective plan for your home, as data rates and caps can vary greatly depending on your city, neighborhood and specific ISP.
As exciting as gaming streaming services, the realities of the current broadband connection state can interfere with them. Although platforms such as Stadia and xCloud do not come up, hopefully they can encourage internet providers to raise their data capsules or maybe completely get rid of them altogether. Wouldn't that be nice?