Google Stadia's Data Cap Challenge Will Be Addressed By ISPs, Says Phil Harrison

Asking a lot.

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Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Google, has indicated that he doesn't believe data caps represent a major challenge to Stadia, the company's upcoming video game streaming service. In an interview, Harrison was asked by GameSpot how much of a limiting factor he sees data caps as. "Data caps [are] not a universal challenge," he replied, going on to say he believes that ISPs will react to demand in order to fulfill the needs of their customers.

"The ISPs have a strong history of staying ahead of consumer trend and if you look at the history of data caps in those small number of markets--and it’s actually a relatively small number of markets that have [data caps]--the trend over time, when music streaming and download became popular, especially in the early days when it was not necessarily legitimate, data caps moved up. Then with the evolution of TV and film streaming, data caps moved up, and we expect that will continue to be the case."

Placing faith in ISPs to respond to the demands of a streaming service like Stadia, which sends 1080p or 4K video feeds to players, depending on the package they're subscribed to, presents further questions. The first being, would the adoption of Stadia be widespread enough to signal a trend that ISPs need to respond to, in the same way that music, TV, and movie streaming did.

Harrison stuck to his guns when presented with this concern, saying he believes "ISPs are smart [and] they understand that they’re in the business of keeping customers happy and keeping customers with them for a long time."

On the suggestion that ISPs may instead see this as an opportunity to attach further costs to having more data, which in turn would become a greater expense on the user, Harrison noted that 5G technology would be one part of the solution.

"There’s a very interesting additional dynamic happening in the internet market, which is the evolution of 5G, particularly in what’s called fixed wireless, which is not necessarily running 5G on your phone but as a way of bringing 5G into your home. All of the 5G fixed wireless businesses that are up now that I’m aware of have no data caps and are very very high performance, so that’s introducing a competitive dynamic. $50 a month. That’s what Verizon fixed wireless costs is for minimum 300mb/s and up to a gigabit. It’s pretty good value to me."

Harrison also noted that many of the calculations that are being used to illustrate how quickly streaming at high resolution can burn through an allotment of data aren't necessarily correct.

"I’ve seen the math calculations that people have done. If you take 35mb/s, it’s not always 35mb/s because we use compression. There will be sometimes when actually it’s using significantly less data than that, so it’s not correct to multiply 35 mbp/s by the number of seconds that you play."

Harrison is are aware that Stadia is nevertheless a demanding service and, as a result, it will "give players information about what they’re using and how they can change their resolution if they want to."

Early adopters will get access to Google Stadia in November 2019 with the Founder's Edition, which is available for pre-order right now, directly from Google. Everyone else will have to wait until the Base version launches in 2020. When the Base version launches, it will be available as a free option, but people will be able to buy a Stadia controller and then purchase games a la carte to stream from anywhere without any additional fees. For access to streaming at 4K, a growing library of games, and discounts on purchasing them, players will need to pay a monthly fee for Stadia Pro.

Prior to E3, Google held an event revealing key information about Stadia, including details on the subscription service, launch plans, and the games that will be available on the service. You can read all about that in our Google Stadia news roundup.

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DeadPhoenix86

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Cloud gaming...A joke...

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tingtong

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I hope it fails hard, as well as anything to do with streaming games. F that bologna

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Emersoncole88

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Edited By Emersoncole88

I feel like gaming of today needs offline options. Too many outages and if a gamer cant get internet access. Will they have a VR connection.

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Vodoo

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Edited By Vodoo

This guy is off his meds! ISP's aren't there to "make people happy." I work for one (without data caps). They would see this as an opportunity for more people paying extra for exceeding their cap.

He's either very naive, or worked some deal with them behind the scenes.

And this doesn't even account for mobile data, which I don't even see working with this service.

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AuthorD

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I know he's trying to make his employer's DOA product look good, but this has to be one of the most delusional BS statements I've heard from a platform exec since Ken Kutaragi's "Get another job" response to the PS3's price. Yes, I think its even more delusional BS than every stupid thing MS execs had to say about the XB1 announcement and launch; its THAT freaking dumb. How far into the sand has Harrison buried his head? The last few years have been nothing but bad news for US internet users.

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Pupchu

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Edited By Pupchu

Dead on arrival, What a product.............

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atopp399

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Edited By atopp399

ISPs will most likely gladly raise caps for a $50 fee (which Comcast already offers) Add that to the cost of Stadia.

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Atzenkiller

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Ha Ha. We've been seeing the opposite trend for years, where ISPs that used to offer unlimited bandwidth have started to add data caps for new people signing up, to keep those who use up shit tons of bandwidth on a regular basis from doing so. So even though providing unlimited bandwidth shouldn't be an issue anymore in modern countries, the industry's greed is what's preventing it. And with the large amount of people I keep seeing who mention that they have limited bandwidth available, it seems that this is a very profitable way for companies to extort their customers while providing minimal service. Thank god we haven't had any crap like that here in Germany for decades now.

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twztid13

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@Atzenkiller: yep. In the Midwest US, we didn't have data caps from the time i first had dial up (1998) until 2016. Then, the ISP upped our speed, but added a data cap. Here, cable/ISP's have a monopoly, so there is no other choice for cable internet. You can get a wireless hotspot from Verizon or something but that's obviously not the same quality for gaming. My cap has been 250GB since 2016, & they charge you more each time you exceed it, eventually making it absurdly expensive. You can get higher caps with higher plans, the 1gb/s being unlimited. They won't just upgrade you to the next package up if you go over though. They want to punish you if you cant forsee hiw much data you need a month in advance. One good thing is my ISP has never throttled like Comcast etc did in the Northeast, but boy is Phil out of touch. They're all rich so they don't care. He figures if you want this, you'll figure it out & pay the extra if you have to. They'll all stay rich whether this succeeds or not...

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Bamda

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Edited By Bamda

@twztid13: You are getting ripped off, that sucks. I'm at 250Mbps down and I have a 1TP cap with Comcast which is not enough for this service either.

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jyml8582

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Yeah...Phil needs to come down from the ivory tower he resides in and actually open his eyes to see that not everyone has unlimited data caps like he does, and game streaming eats up more bandwidth and fills up that monthly data cap much quicker than video streaming.

Soooo yeahhhhh, I'm all for progress and new tech and all, but this is not a technical limitation issue, this is a political problem.

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twztid13

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@jyml8582: i think phil Harrison was in charge when Xbox one was to be always online. When we complained, their rep shamed us by claiming that xbox one's needing constant internet connection was like that of a vacuum cleaner needing electricity, & that everyone needed to stop crying (cuz everyone knows internet is as ubiquitous, & reliable, as electricity). SMH. Once out of touch, always out of touch? Phil didn't make that comment, to be clear, but his employee did, & that seemed to be the attitude of the team at that time, according to "one anonymous source familiar with the situation" (sorry, i had to. I wanted to see how it felt to be a true blue journalist in 2019).

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BarcaAzul

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The ISP'S all kicked off when netflix and TV streaming became popular. I can see markets introducing caps if this takes off.

I think he is living in a dream world, the ISP'S will have to upgrade infrastructure if streaming 4k games really takes off and hits mainstream

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

Bwaahahahah, solved by ISPs! Yes, Comast and Charter and Cox are just going to give you more bandwidth for free! Because those are definitely companies interested in pleasing their customers.

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Royas

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And that new, unlimited bandwidth will be delivered by unicorns and brownies! Seriously, I'm not sure if this guy lives in the same reality as the rest of us, where ISP's have functional monopolies over large swathes of territory and can pretty much charge what they like. If Google gives them an excuse to raise prices, they are almost obliged to if they are publicly traded, as they have a duty to maximize profits for their investors. ISP's aren't in the business of being charitable, and believing they will do what is best for the customer is ignoring the history of corporations throughout the modern era.

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Barighm

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Er...no, they won't. They just passed a law in Canada forcing some ISPs to offer unlimited data. So...no.

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nikolistary

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Considering that Net Neutrality is dead, I sincerely doubt ISPs will play nice. Or cheap.

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twztid13

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@nikolistary: net neutrality was a political idea, never an actual policy put into practice. It would not have helped in this scenario. The ISPs have much more power than most realize. Just like people think they can tax the rich more. No, they can afford to pay to find the loopholes & where there are none, they will up & move to somewhere with lower taxes. They will not pay the higher tax rates no matter how high they're raised. The rates were close to 90% 50 years ago & not a single person or company payed that rate, nor anything close to it, but it made people feel good to say it was that high. Rich have the ability to be mobile & adapt. Net neutrality was like that 90% tax rate. It would make everyone feel good, but the ISPs are powerful enough to do what they want. Hopefully the antitrust investigation into Google, Facebook & Amazon (regarding their control of the marketplace & advertising) will veer into the ISP territory, cuz that's the only way it will get resolved. Most of these politicians just do not understand the tech world, & the tech & ISP companies aren't going to admit to every way they're possibly violating laws or regulations of out of the kindness of their heart.

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struvokreborn

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Edited By struvokreborn

most of the time with ISP's that dont have data caps, they will throttle your connection speed once you go over a set amount.

and the people who do have caps are going to want nothing to do with this. and not everybody lives in an urban area that can simply just switch ISP's on a whim.

cant see stadia lasting very long before google abandons it, while the PR guys go in full spin trying to downplay it as if it was too advanced for the consumer or some bullshit. this isnt going to take off, so long as people have data caps or throttling to worry about

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V1ndictive

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Edited By V1ndictive

From the beginning I've said this is doomed simply for this reason. Stadia won't just cost what Stadia costs. ISPs will come for cloud gamers in full force and you can bet your ass you'll be paying almost triple digits monthly for high speed internet if they expect you'll be using terabytes on terabytes of data.

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DecadentDescent

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@v1ndictive: This is one of the main reasons I never want to see a streaming only future. Even if the infrastructure was there to support the massive amounts of data usage, there would still be the issue of ISPs robbing us stupid.

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wtf_666

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I live in a major USA city and xfinity has a 1tb data cap here. I can use it up easily without Stadia. Sure, xfinity might increase the data cap....how much will they raise the already high price????

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twztid13

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@wtf_666: wow, 250gb cap here, but not in major city. City of about 300k people with a single ISP monopoly guaranteed by the state (the 3 judges took large donations from Suddenlink to get elected, before that 3 judge panel made that ruling that no one could compete since that supposedly would "cause undue burden & confusion regarding the infrastructure if more than 1 entity were to build, maintain & upgrade the infrastructure". They seemed to say ownership, & who was responsible for what maintenance & repairs on the infrastructure, would be hard to decide. I'll tell you what's hard to decide... Should i buy groceries or keep paying these internet bills that increase every 3 months with same or decreased level of service... Such BS from these morons that probably never paid for internet in their lives. They get the hook up from some CEO, or they pay someone to pay their bills & have no idea what it costs.

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naomha1

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Personally, I think Stadia is going to fail. Now, say, for example, we actually colonized outer space, then Stadia would be a legitimate thing. Even huge in an environment like that. But to make people pay for games they have to stream at the mercy of their ISPs, especially in countries that don't have a solid internet foundation, is lackluster at best and wholly irresponsible in the greater scope of things.

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Jinzo_111887

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Edited By Jinzo_111887

Only if Google Fiber gets rolled out every inch of the country by the time it launches.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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@Jinzo_111887: I'd rather public fiber than subsidizing a company's ability to charge us unfairly, which is what got us in this situation in the first place

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BarcaAzul

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Edited By BarcaAzul

@girlusocrazy:

In this day and age, Internet connection should be classed as a utility or a public service and have regulated costs

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twztid13

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@barcaazul: word.

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Runeweaver

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ISP's with data caps are gonna love the stadia, They will increase the fee for going over your data cap.

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Lastofus234

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Pretty much makes stadia irrelevant for most people in Australia as our internet is terrible

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Javier

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And Donald Trump will reconsider tariffs after reading Sony/Ms/Nintendo ´s letter...

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sirk1264

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Lmao good luck with that. Stadia is at the mercy of ISPs. The ISPs won’t change how they do business for google.

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robertgraves

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@sirk1264: I agree with you. I believe that they will just continue their business as usual. The data cap is going to be a big problem for Stadia because you're also using it for other services like Netflix, YouTube etc.

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xxmavr1kxx

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ISP's have a part to play in pricing and data Caps, and to think that will change is stupid. What needs to happen is more competition, but witht he big money these ISP's have,

and

Local, and State government attaching ridiculous fees and kickbacks that stop competition from coming in.

https://www.wired.com/2013/07/we-need-to-stop-focusing-on-just-cable-companies-and-blame-local-government-for-dismal-broadband-competition/

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GirlUSoCrazy

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@xxmavr1kxx: More competition but gov is approving bigger and bigger mergers so that's never going to happen.

More competition but the barrier to entry is only going up. Do you expect a new independent ISPs to pop up? No, because lobbying, infrastructure leasing or building.

So the way forward there is for a giant interest to, and for a profit obviously, build an alternative. More caps and gouging here too.

Competition won't happen. We'd have to legislate a more level playing field, but again lobbying is against this.

Google themselves and other companies who have deep pockets will have to make it happen unfortunately, and then they will impose their own terms and focus on their own way to profit.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

Already solved. Whether networks are idle or fully saturated they still use the same resources. It doesn't cost more to always be downloading. The extra cost for unlimited internet simply doesn't exist.

As for infrastructure, as customers we pay for and subsidize that with service fees and installation fees, and our taxes help as well with different budgets and grants allocated to that.

We've even tried to build out our own municipal internets even where cable and phone companies weren't interested but somehow each time they try to step in and stop it.

We can have unlimited nationwide internet but don't because of monopolies, lobbying, and there is more money incentive not to do this.

One possible solution is to have the internet considered a utility like electricity and have more regulation but historically we as a country advocate the "wild west" approach over any type of broad regulation, even if it is democratically instituted. Maybe we will have to do it state by state.

It's sad because we are already way behind on internet and mobile compared to other countries.

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wtf_666

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@girlusocrazy: "The extra cost for unlimited internet simply doesn't exist." Tell that to xfinity.

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sirk1264

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@girlusocrazy: we tried turning it into a utility with net neutrality but the current FCC revoked it. Doubt it ever happens again.

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Thanatos2k

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@sirk1264: Stop electing idiots like Trump who put corporate lobbyists like the loathsome Ajit Pai in charge.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

@sirk1264: Yeah swamp draining apparently wasn't effective there either. Putting corporate lobbyists as heads of gov regulations commissions is somehow not working out who would have thought...

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deactivated-5dd711115e664

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And with that completely stupid take, Google stadia is officially already dead.

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Imajinn

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This guy is out of touch and clueless. Says all a lot of us need to know about where the stadia is headed.

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Marky360

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Edited By Marky360

This guy is retarded ISPs have absolutely no insentive to get rid of data caps especially if they KNOW for a fact that as a Stadia subscriber your going to be burning through your data limit which will make them a fuckton of money. Plus if there is no competition for them in a specific area like there usually is then ISPs can keep on charging you exorbitant amounts of money for going over your data cap with little to no repercussions because you quite literally wouldn't have any other choice aside from canceling your Stadia subscription.

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attirex

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BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA

Harrison is so full of sh*t it's leaking out of his eyeballs. Go jump off a cliff, dude.

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CottonFly

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Edited By CottonFly

This is exactly as I predicted. Yes, ISPs will solve the massive increase in data usage: BY PUTTING UP THEIR PRICES!!! (and I have heard from people employed by ISPs verifying this)

And I fear, everyone will end up being affected by this, not just those indulging in Stadia.

Google is single-handedly going to cause a drastic rise in broadband prices to the consumer. This is bad...

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aross2004

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Edited By aross2004

@cottonfly: "And I fear, everyone will end up being affected by this, not just those indulging in Stadia".

I would love to hear how you came to this conclusion.

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deactivated-5dd711115e664

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@aross2004: Typically when ISPs raise prices, they raise them across the board for everyone. Not just for one specific group who uses high amounts of data. Increased total data usage is frequently used by ISPs to justify raising prices for everyone. Then other ISPs often raise their own prices as well to be more "competitive"...because for big companies the word "competitive" means making as much money as possible to keep your investors happy.

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aross2004

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@ZIMdoom: Google Stadia is not going to affect things as much as you seem to think it will.

ISP's have mostly remained fairly consistent with their pricing, (not saying that some aren't exorbitant), even with the advent of all the current streaming services.

Having 4K streaming services didn't make ISP service plans unaffordable for consumers, thinking that Stadia will makes no sense, (especially considering how low the adoption rate will be).

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Marky360

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@cottonfly:

Fucking Google screwing everybody over as per usual. As if the whole Project Veritas thing wasn't bad enough. Google's truly does suck.

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sakaiXx

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Once thing that stadia and microsoft will never be able to have is dominance on 2nd hand market. Sure 1st world these data caps been solved but during my travels to asia, many countries dont have the luxury. Surprisingly the game industry still flourish even though its an expensive hobby over there, pretty much 99% playstation nation too. Crazy how much grip sony has in worldwide sales.

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