Google Stadia and the Future of Gaming
In the year that’s already focused on the next generation of gaming, Google, the global tech power player, has gone first. In late March, at the 2019 Game Developers Conference, Google unveiled Stadia, the company’s innovative cloud gaming service and a pioneering next-generation gaming platform. So what is Google Stadia exactly? It’s a cloud-based gaming service that streams video games from a remote data center to almost any type of screen with Chrome. And players don’t have to buy a costly gaming PC or a dedicated console to use Google Stadia!
In other words, Google is intending to do for the video games-streaming market what NetFlix has previously done for television and movies. Stadia will work on smartphones, tablets, laptops, personal computers, Chromebooks, Macs and even TVs, as long as Chrome runs on them. With all graphics processing being transferred to Google’s servers, basically all players will need to use Stadia is a strong internet connection. ‘The future of gaming is not a box. It’s a place.’, Google Stadia trailer aptly manifests.
Unwrapping the Details of Google Stadia
Dubbing Stadia ‘a platform for everyone’, Google is creating the service with YouTube in mind. To put it in practical terms, if you watch a video of your most favored YouTube streamer playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, for example, a ‘Play now’ link will pop up giving you the possibility to start playing the same game in one click, within a matter of ten seconds. This approach significantly expands the reach of YouTube live streams, while transforming a huge part of the cyberspace into an ever-expanding game store.
According to Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Google Stadia, people’s favorite ‘games will be available on Stadia in resolutions up to 4K and 60 frames per second with HDR and surround sound’. Doesn’t it all sound unrealistically awesome to you? Well, Google does seem to intend to ‘game change’ and dominate gaming with this major all-new console-free streaming service, a place where people will ‘gather around’ to play all kinds of games without any limits. But is there a catch and how will it influence the gaming space?
Google may have ambitiously outlined its plans to change the gaming scene like no one ever has done before, but it’s a future the company managers have left the audience knowing almost nothing about. Both players and developers are left with multiple questions about the service’s pricing plan, subscription details, internet speeds, buffering, the possibility to play games online, the real owner of the game data stored in the cloud and many more unveiled implications.
The next portion of details about Stadia will be released around E3 time. Even though Google has not yet confirmed its E3 agenda, Harrison said the company would share more information about Stadia in June. As of today, we know that the cloud-based platform will be launched sometime in 2019 in the US, Canada, United Kingdom and ‘most’ of Europe. Today, everyone in the industry is expecting to get their heads of the clouds and hear more hard facts about Stadia.
Google Stadia Prospects, ‘Buts’ and ‘What ifs’
When something sounds too good to be true, there’s always a catch. Let’s try and pin it down. Even though players will be able to control some of the Stadia games using their smartphone keyboards or their existing controllers while playing from their phones and PCs, for the highest quality gameplay on other devices a Google Stadia controller must be purchased. This, along with the ‘subscription frustration’ gamers are already expressing, will undoubtedly discourage consumers from using the platform.
Aside from the additional-hardware potential drawback, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and Amazon will represent Google’s competition on the cloud gaming scene. Standing out among these powerful industry gurus will be quite challenging even for Google. Furthermore, the question of bandwidth is paramount. If the player’s device doesn’t have sufficient bandwidth, delays in gameplay will take place, which could be a virtual ‘game-over’ for anyone enjoying a multiplayer live action shooter game.
To cut a long story short, Google Stadia creators should really go the extra mile to encourage gamers to quit their time-tested consoles and PCs for this new service. At the end of the day, Google has tons of obstacles to overcome, but everybody knows that the game is worth the candle. If Google manages to pull this off technology- and resource-wise, Stadia will immensely expand the multiplayer gaming experience and change the industry forever.