The “future” of video games is on its way, with nearly every console now offering the ability to download almost all of their latest titles. Microsoft has even mentioned eliminating discs from the Xbox One eventually, and even though it’s basically the same thing Steam has been doing with PC games for years now, it will practically force gamers to have a cable internet connection.
The problem with WiFi hotspots is that everybody who offers them, with the exception of services like Clear, only offers so many gigabytes for the lower priced services. Verizon offers a series of plans which severely limit you unless you’re on one of the more expensive plans ($200 for 30 GB a month). AT&T only offers one plan, and then forces an overage fee beyond its limit. Even T-Mobile doesn’t offer unlimited data plan services any more.
The only way you can be sure to have the freedom to download your games will be to convert cable internet into a wireless signal, and even that has limits with most major providers. As it is now, you’re limited to even how often you watch YouTube because the videos will eat up your available service.
Why does this threaten the existence of the “future” of video games? Look at how large the biggest games are now. The average Xbox 360 game will usually clock in at around 6 GB or more. The average Xbox One or PlayStation 4 game comes in at almost 50 GB, and they are only going to get bigger as we move toward the inevitable next generation.
You’re looking at some serious overage fees that could easily multiply how much you pay for your games in the end if you use a WiFi hotspot, and 50 GB a month alone is excessive in the eyes of cable companies like Comcast. For example, if you download a full game to a current generation console, you will run at least 10 Gigabytes over the limit on a $200 Verizon data plan. Each extra gigabyte is an extra $15. Multiply 15 by how many gigabytes you’re using over the limit, and that copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts is going to cost you around $400, and that’s only if you don’t use the internet for multiplayer. The future of video games is looking pretty expensive if the unlimited data plan is going extinct.
If Microsoft’s vision of the future of video games is going to become a reality, eventually gaming will only be affordable to people with forgiving cable internet service.