Stadia, for everything it sounds like it has going for it, still presents some potential issues for gamers that have kept many people skeptical about whether or not the service will be able to perform. One of those potential issues is data caps, except, maybe data caps won't be an issue at all. That's what Stadia Lead Phil Harrison seems to believe.
In an interview with GameSpot, Harrison noted that he believes ISPs will continue to do what they've been doing and keep up with trends on consumer needs in regards to how much data is required for certain services, like streaming, and stay ahead of those trends by increasing caps as needed. Harrison thinks that internet service providers will do the same thing with services like Stadia.
If you consider Harrison's reasoning, it is true that data caps have increased as services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, HBO NOW and others have started to become even more mainstream over the years. Think back to when Netflix first started. Data caps were definitely lower, and now most providers have a cap of 1TB per month before you start getting slapped with slower internet speeds.
Sure, 1TB caps on data could be a real problem with services like Stadia, which offers up to 4K streaming at 60 frame per second. In fact it would only take about 65 hours of gaming before that cap was reached, and that's only if Stadia is the only streaming service you use. Even with a single person in the home chances are that they will have other services they use for streaming, such as Netflix or Spotify, which would only allow for less game streaming via Stadia as the cap would have to be split between all of those services.
If things go as Harrison is thinking, then this might not actually be an issue. Companies like Comcast, Cox Communications and other big internet service providers could be anticipating the needs of customers who will more than likely be hitting those caps, which is even more likely if there are more than a few people in the home and all of which are using streaming services of some kind.
This may or may not happen, and Stadia subscribers won't know until they use the service. It's also unlikely that if caps were raised that they would be increasing early on. ISPs would probably analyze how much data is being used for Stadia on a monthly basis, and calculate out any adjustments needing to be made accordingly.
It's not impossible that data caps could be a non-issue, but it wouldn't make much sense for providers to raise the data caps before knowing that most subscribers of Stadia are running up against their current data cap early in the month or well before it's over. That being said, if data caps end up not being a problem it could be a few months before customers see any changes to those caps.
Here's to hoping that Harrison is correct, and that internet ISPs do what they can to adjust the need for more data for customer using services like Stadia.