Google Stadia is a bold vision for what the future of gaming might look like, with the tech giant preparing a service that lets people stream popular games on a variety of devices, with the gameplay powered by the cloud. The question is: will people have good enough Internet speeds to make Stadia a viable option?
The answer isn't clearcut, but a recent study based here in the UK seems to suggest that Google's service may struggle to gain traction at first thanks to variable Internet speeds, with it likely that some people would have to pay extra to upgrade their broadband in order to have the bandwidth required to play the games at a comparable quality to what's easily achieved by home consoles.
Let's put it another way. International editors here at Gamereactor love to tease the UK team about our stone age broadband speeds, and with so many people in the UK having slow and unreliable Internet, the idea of forking out extra to allow for 4K streaming might not be particularly appealing to some.
The study by Broadband Genie and Eurogamer included 3,000 Brits and the results were rather interesting. The survey looked at the three levels of performance detailed by Google, with the minimum 10Mbps getting you 720p at 60fps. 20Mbps means you'll get 1080p at 60fps (with HDR video and 5.1 surround sound). Finally, the top tier Stadia experience requires 35Mbps, which gets you 4K at 60fps (also with HDR video and 5.1 surround sound).
83 per cent of those asked expressed some interest in the service, but almost a quarter - 22 per cent - are currently limited by ADSL or mobile connections that might struggle to perform even at 720p. Elsewhere, of the 2138 people surveyed who have a broadband connection, 29 per cent couldn't hit the recommended 35Mbps, while 17 per cent reported speeds under 20Mbps.
These figures, while not catastrophic, paint a picture whereby a lot of people may be forced into making significant upgrades to their broadband packages in order to hit the same level of performance as is already achievable by Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. That being the case, it's fair to assume that many people, despite being interested in Stadia, may decide to hold off for the time being and wait for their broadband strength to catch up with the tech.
Either way, it's interesting intel that suggests that cloud gaming, while on the horizon, might take some time to firmly establish itself, especially here in the UK.