About Google Stadia
According to Google the future of gaming is not in a box, but a place. Google Stadia is a cloud gaming service. You basically play a game remotely on Google’s servers so you can play it on any device with streaming capabilities. In this way you are able to play games anywhere through Google Stadia. You will only need access to internet to instantly play games on a phone, tablet, PC or TV. All the games, and the hardware itself, sits in the cloud and you’re just streaming the games to your devices.
Google also made a Google Stadia controller. Unlike other controllers it connects directly to the game inside the company’s datacentre, rather than pairing to the device you’re playing it on. But there is no specific need to buy this controller, since you’ll be able to use all of your existing kit. The controller connects to the cloud via Wi-Fi. It also allows players to stream gameplay using a specific button, and ask for developer-directed help using another button.
The service’s release date is set for some time in 2019, and it’ll launch in the US, Canada, the UK and Western Europe. There are plans to expand to other countries from 2020 too. In addition, Google will reveal more information about Stadia this summer.
There have been several attempts at cloud gaming by others before, but they failed. PSNow is the first successful commercial attempt at it. At this point there is more or less only faith in this piece of technology that hasn’t been reliable for most.
This also isn’t the first attempt of Google. There was the short-lived Google Nexus Player. Released in 2014, the Nexus Player was essentially an Apple TV that could run Google’s vast library of Android games with an operating system called “Android TV” and a gaming controller. Though the Nexus Player worked, it failed to attract the attention of the serious console gaming community.
Cloud gaming is supposed to be the future of gaming and tech giants are racing each other to build this. Google Stadia could be the one that changes the industry forever. But there are some questions to be asked. Like: What will the revenue models and contracts look like? Who is cloud gaming really for? What about privacy?
First of all, there are several options for revenue models. Google could ask for a subscription like Netflix or Spotify. Or a pay-per-play or pay-per-hour model could apply. A concern with pay-per-hour is that future games have longer narratives or some sort to increase the playtime. How the revenue will be shared in the future is a big question and is important to know for developers who are making games right now.
Furthermore, there was no pricing information announced. For those who have older hardware is spending 15 euros a month maybe cheaper than buying a new PC, but for existing PC gamers it’s not beneficial. Also, a lot of people in the world don’t have access to high-speed internet. Then gaming is not available for everyone anymore and you might push out a group of people who would like to game but can’t because of their internet connection. For example, 24 million Americans do not have access to high speed internet, according to Motherboard.
Another unanswered question is who will own the gameplay data Stadia collects and what Google will do with it. Maybe Google will use this information to analyse you and try to sell things to you through ads.
But will it be any good now?
One of the benefits of Google Stadia is that all games can be played in only one platform. You can also play anywhere anytime you want. Thirdly, there is no need to keep up with the latest physical hardware, like having a newest PC or the latest games console. It creates possibilities for more high-end games as well.
But Google has some significant hurdles to overcome if it wants to dominate gaming for the next generation. Some concerns are about getting the games on its platform. Secondly, the internet connection might be a big problem, no (good) connection means no Google Stadia. There are also worries about the revenue models, the pricing and privacy.
It’s difficult to answer the question if Google Stadia will succeed. It will be tough and Google will face many challenges. But if there is someone who could pull it off, Google has good chances being one of the leaders in technology and innovation.