Google Stadia Vs Consoles: What’s Cheaper In The Long Run, Data Caps, Ajit Pai’s FCC

Google Stadia is something quite unique and a big step into the streaming technology. Video game streaming technology is now backed by many companies including Microsoft and Google Stadia. The future belongs to digital platforms but a key factor will always be price. The cost of any good or service is one of the main factors that determine its performance in the market.

But in Google’s case, the library of games will be an issue as well, at least in the beginning. There isn’t much on offer other than some AAA games. There is a huge market for indie games and these titles make the majority of the industry. But it is safe to say Google Stadia’s games library will expand over time.

In terms of video games library, Google Stadia can’t compete with traditional consoles. But what about the price? Can Stadia offer a cheaper gaming experience?

Google Stadia Pro is available for $9.99/mo. The Stadia Pro gives players access to 4K/60FPS gaming. Your internet connection will play a major role in proper 4K/60FPS streaming. Pro Streaming subscription comes with a 5.1 surround sound option and free games every now and then starting with Bungie’s Destiny 2. You can also go for the 3-month Founder’s Edition for $130. It comes with a gamepad, Destiny 2, and Google Chromecast.

There are only AAA games available at the moment that’s the only thing we’ll use to calculate the cost.

Google Stadia vs PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett

A traditional console cycle lasts for 7-years so compared to consoles, how much will Stadia costs in 7-years?

  • 7-years of Stadia Pro = $840
  • An average of 5 $60 AAA games a year for 7 years = $2,100
  • The total cost of Google Stadia for 7-years = $2,940

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett both are expected to be around $499.

  • Expected upfront cost = $499
  • An average of 5 $60 AAA games for 7 years = $2,100
  • The total cost of console gaming for 7-years = 2,599

If you factor in the subscriptions to play games online the cost of traditional consoles goes up. You can add another $420 to the overall cost of console gaming.

The cost of console gaming will vary if you can get games at a discount, wait for the console to go cheap in a couple of years, buy online subscriptions at a discount, and more. There are many factors but the difference between Stadia and traditional consoles, in the long run, isn’t that much.

Depending on how you handle your purchases, console gaming could be slightly cheaper for you. You can buy everything at full price and console gaming will be more expensive compared to Stadia. So the difference in cost shouldn’t be that much. Give or take a couple of hundred dollars on both sides.

According to Google, “the value you get from the game on Stadia means you can it on any screen in your life.” This feature is the main selling point of Stadia right now.

Phil Harrison says consoles are an inconvenience to gamers.

The industry is in transition. Not every developer and publisher is ready to move to a subscription yet. Franky, not every gamer is ready to move to a subscription yet. So we wanted to give gamers a choice so they could engage in the game they want in the way they wanted – and in all cases, without the very high upfront cost of buying a sophisticated device to put under their TV or their desk.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly when plugging in an HDMI to your TV became an inconvenience. But well, that’s Google’s marketing for you. The statement shows how the company doesn’t have a solid pitch for Google Stadia. Playing on multiple screens can’t be reason enough to buy Stadia.

In fact, a recent survey shows people aren’t as interested in Google Stadia.

But let’s put the survey, costs, and Google’s unimpressive marketing pitch aside. There are many issues with Stadia gaming including ownership of the games you pay for, data caps, latency, lag, and most of all, the FCC.

There are technical limitations in the United States. According to Speedtest, America is not even in the top 30 counties with the fastest internet. Google showed Stadia at E3 2019 in a simulated environment and got praise from the media. No noticeable lag or latency is reported but running Google Stadia games in your home is a different story.

A simulated environment with high-speed internet can’t represent its performance accurately. It is odd that Google isn’t hosting a public beta before Google’s Stadia’s launch. This raises concerns and questions. Are we suppose to take Google’s word for it and spend our hard earned money?

Telco Controlled FCC Isn’t Helping Google Stadia

When we talk about technical limitations, we aren’t just talking about internet speeds and data caps. For any video game streaming service to succeed in the United States, significant infrastructure changes must be made.

The current cloud infrastructure won’t help Google Stadia video game streaming service. Google needs ample processing power, something that’s capable of handling millions of gamers at once. There is no evidence to suggest Google’s infrastructure is capable of it. Moreover, the history of streaming services isn’t encouraging as well.

Another major problem Google is facing the FCC led by Ajit Pai. The FCC chairman showed no interest in holding telecom companies accountable. Pai introduced a controversial plan to redefine broadband in lesser terms of that more parts on the country are considered to have retroactivity better internet speeds. In reality, they won’t have better internet. In fact, by modern day standards, they are terrible.

Under the current administration, the house leadership and lawmakers couldn’t care less about the growth of the internet. And no one wants more competition in the telecom sector. Which means no push for fiber installations for better speeds, and zero data caps.

Google has its own high-speed fiber internet but the company can not expand outside of certain sections of the United States. Google can’t race to be the fastest internet provider in the country under the current FCC rule. And it isn’t hard to see how that will affect Stadia’s performance.

Internet speeds, data caps, and digital ownership concerns are issues Google much address. Majority of these issues aren’t in Google’s control so where does that leave Stadia? We’ll have to wait and see.

Sarmad is our Senior Editor, and is also one of the more refined and cultured among us. He's 25, a finance major, and having the time of his life writing about videogames.