4K is the future. The PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X are already making those first few steps. We’re seeing graphics beyond our wildest dreams and treading into that uncanny valley. Unfortunately, there is something beyond our control that could cause trouble for this technological revolution. It all has to do with data.
If AT&T or Comcast are your service providers, you already know where this is going. In an age when Google Fiber should be our future, providing 1TB upload and download speeds, we’re stuck with services like AT&T’s U-verse and Comcast’s Xfinity that impost 1TB caps. While 1TB per month may seem like a lot for ordinary people, it goes right out the window when you bring gaming into the mix.
It all has to do with patch sizes. We recently learned the Xbox One X’s 4K asset pack for Forza Motorsport is going to be a 100GB download. That isn’t even counting the game, which is allegedly 100GB on its own. That means anyone with an Xbox One X who would grab it after the game’s October 3, 2017 release could end up taking a 200GB chunk out of their allotted 1,000GB of data for a single game. Monstrous, right?
Large updates for games aren’t unexpected. Sticking with the Xbox One as our example, there are two other games that are already near or over 100GB on their own. Halo 5: Guardians comes close at just over 97GB, while Gears of War 4 vaults over that line at over 116GB. The key here is that both of those games weren’t immediately 97 or 116GB at launch. Patches released over time built it up to that size, so it wouldn’t be like someone is using up 1/10th of their data in a single download. (Well, unless they decide to get the game now. Godspeed, people with caps!)
This is before figuring the amount of data you might have already used by using your spiffy console as a streaming device. Because you know using services like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix taps into your monthly count too. That further depletes your resources and brings you closer to that $50 penalty fee for going over. Which means companies will start trying to push that $50-per-month more plan that gives you unlimited data.
It makes it seem even more like our generation isn’t ready for 4K gaming. It is such a promising prospect. The games look so beautiful and run better, assuring us it is worthwhile. But money-grubbing cable companies that want to nickel and dime people could hamper a good thing before it has a chance to get started.