“The future of gaming is not a box,” according to Google. “It’s a place.” Google announced it is joining the gaming industry in 2019 with Stadia, a cloud streaming service allowing games to be played anywhere. The system was first introduced at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on March 19. With Stadia, Google looks to change the way people play.
The Netflix Of Gaming
Google is trying to do to the gaming industry what Netflix has done to the film and series industry. Unlike traditional gaming, you won’t need a fast gaming PC or a particular console such as Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Xbox One, or Sony PlayStation 4. The only thing Stadia needs is access to the Google Chrome web browser. After connecting with your phone, PC, tablet, or smart TV, you can immediately start playing. The service will start sometime this year in the US, Canada, UK, and Europe.
What makes Stadia different from other streaming games is its integration with YouTube. As a result of this collaboration, Google will be able to connect to the gaming community through popular gamers and commentators. When a player watches a clip posted by one of these, they can immediately begin playing the game, even starting where the clip occurs.
While services like Twitch have already seen communities develop around games and streamers, they do not integrate with the games themselves. The player can watch and chat but then has to switch to another system to play.
Road Blocks Stadia Must Break Through
While Google has an interesting approach to the new generation of gaming, the company will also face many challenges. The first one is the content. At the conference, Google announced many partnerships with game studios, however, there was no mention of any game that will be built for Stadia. They only showed a couple of games that are already available on other consoles. Google shared their development kit with over 100 game studios, but will they accept the extra work of adapting their work for another platform? One way Google can try to get content is by developing it themselves at the Stadia Games and Entertainment studio.
Another hurdle is the internet connection required to use the service. If you don’t have a fibre internet connection, your gaming experience will be sub-par. And even if you have a high-speed connection, latency can still be an issue. Other streaming services have less of a problem with latency because they focus only on video and can buffer it. This workaround is impossible when you are playing a game. Unless you are located near a Google data centre, you will experience a delay between when you push a button and when the result appears on your screen. Google avoided showing latency-dependant games during its demonstration. Rather than showing a first-person shooter like Counterstrike that requires quick response time, the slower-actioned Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was chosen as the test title.
And since you always need an internet connection to access the cloud, there is no offline play. This means no playing your favourite game while flying for example. Or even on your mobile phone – at least until 5G has arrived. And this won’t be any time soon.
Still Many Unknowns
There has yet to be any indication of exactly when customers can get their hands on Google Stadia. The price? No clue. Will it be a monthly subscription like Netflix or Amazon Prime? Perhaps time-based with an amount per hour of play, no matter which game or games you choose? This also leads to the question of if you will be able to own any of the games you play in the cloud.
Another important point is how the game developers will receive their share of the profits. The current system of direct selling to gamers is extremely profitable. Will they be willing to try a different business model?
We hope that Google will announce more details soon, but even so the competition is already fierce. It’s already possible to play streaming games on the PlayStation Network (PSN) or even on the Nintendo Switch (albeit only in Japan for the moment). And while Google has deep-pockets, Microsoft’s experience has shown that money is not enough to gain control of the gaming market.
Stadia looks like an early beta for what will be part of the future of gaming. But experience today’s most advanced casino games at Mummys Gold, the best online casino in Ireland.