Following the unveiling of Google Stadia as an upcoming cloud-based gaming platform due to launch later this year, a far from insignificant portion of gamers remained skeptical chiefly due to the broadband speed constraints that are still in place in some countries of the world.
However, during a recent fireside chat (available in its entirety on YouTube) with Amy Hennig at the recent GamesBeat Summit 2019, Google VP Phil Harrison remarked that the company is confident broadband speed will be more than enough in the markets that are being targeted for the initial launch.
We study broadband very carefully, as you can imagine, and very deeply. In the markets that we will be launching, where we are planning to introduce [Google Stadia] in the future, broadband connectivity is more than sufficient to satisfy the most ambitious aspects of our plan.
The bandwidth we require to enjoy Google Stadia at the highest level is only 30/35 megabits per second, and that’s to play at 4K. 20/25 megabits per second is enough for less than that, so it’s not a massive bandwidth that we require.
As a reminder, those markets are the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Western Europe, where the service is scheduled to debut in the latter half of 2018. Harrison was later asked by someone in the audience whether there were any plans to launch Google Stadia in China and he replied that while it’s not a market they would ignore, there’s no such announcement to make at the moment.
The Google executive may be right about the broadband speed not being an issue if we go by Speedtest’s Global Index. In March 2019, 67 of the world’s countries had an average download speed of more than 31 megabits per second.
However, games require more than just enough bandwidth to work in an optimal way through the cloud. The latency will be arguably far more important, though Google is betting on its over 7,500 edge nodes and data centers dispersed in over 200 of the world’s countries to take care of this particularly sensitive matter.
We’ll have to try Google Stadia ourselves, from our homes, to understand if it can really work as smoothly as promised. Meanwhile, we’ll learn more about Google Stadia’s pricing at some point in the Summer. Until then, stay tuned on Wccftech.