In March, we saw Google make an unexpected announcement — the company is entering the gaming industry. The search engine giant announced its cloud-gaming platform, Google Stadia. Basically it’s Netflix, but for games. And now we know what internet speeds you’ll need. The news… isn’t good. For South Africans, that is.
Massive numbers of potential Stadia customers live in countries that don’t necessarily have great internet connections. In South Africa, only 53% of the population is connected to the internet, while just 35% of the whole of Africa has access to the internet.
According to ITWeb, SA has a mean download speed of 6.38Mbps, while the average global broadband speed measured is 9.10Mbps. So, let’s just hold on to those numbers for a sec…
Stadia’s not for us
Google says Stadia users will be able to stream games at 4K and 60 frames per second (fps), leaving us wondering what insane internet speeds we’ll need to play proper games. You know, without continuous buffering during a boss battle or lag while executing a daring jump that could end your character’s life? Well…
Speaking to Kotaku, Google Stadia’s bossman Phil Harrison explained the technical requirements for Stadia. He confirmed that the recommended minimum connection speed will be 25Mbps for a game running at 1080p and 60fps. For 4K and 60fps, you’ll need at least 30Mbps. Translation: The local gaming market will rely on physical games and consoles for the time being.
Very few South Africans and Africans have the technical infrastructure to run Stadia games. Another issue could be irregular line performance and throttling, which South African ISPs are known for. We’d rather have access to offline games with the choice to go online when line speeds look stable, and not worry about continuous lag because SA’s broadband infrastructure won’t allow for the performance Stadia needs.
We’re still not convinced whether Google will decide to launch Stadia here, especially considering these issues. If the company launched Google gaming hardware for countries without sufficient infrastructure? Yeah, we’d consider that. Right now, you can start saving up for a PS5 instead. Stadia will be releasing some time in 2019.