A look at Google’s Stadia, the gaming platform that works through streaming on any device you own – Will it be a console killer or just another failed Google project?
The 8th generation of video game consoles has already been with us for quite a while but it seems that it might be the last traditional video game console generation as the gaming industry might heading in a completely new direction. This new direction is video game streaming and Google is at the forefront with its upcoming Google Stadia streaming platform!
What is Google Stadia?
Google Stadia is a game streaming service that Google plans to launch later in 2019 in some parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, UK and some European countries. From it’s announcement event, we know a good deal of stuff from Google’s presentation of Stadia yesterday at GDC which can be summed up in this list:
- Spec-wise, every instance of the Stadia will be providing an AMD GPU with 10.7 Teraflops of power, 16GB RAM and a CPU (with an unknown core count) running at 2.7GHz
- These specifications are similar to those of a modern mid-to-high range gaming PC and are much better than what the PlayStation 4 Pro and XBOX One X offer
- Apparently, the Stadia will be powered by Linux
- At launch, Google promises up to 4K @ 60 FPS with HDR with surround sound. In the future, it will support up to 8K @ 120FPS
- It must be noted that the ‘up to’ is of utmost importance here as it’s likely that not all titles will be available at the aformentioned resolutions. However, Google claims that it can hook up multiple Stadia instances to improve your gaming experience but only time will tell how well that’ll work or whether you’d need to pay extra for it
- You will be able to access Google Stadia through the Chrome browser (and hopefully other browsers supporting the required features), smartphones/tablets (presumably both Android/iOS) and TVs through Chrome Cast (and probably Android boxes)
- Any controller and keyboard/mouse may be used with Stadia but they’ve also released an optional Stadia controller
- You need a 25Mbps connection for a good 4K gaming experience and presumably faster internet for 8K streaming
- We also find the feature of being able to pick up your game from any other device at the exact same place you left, easy YouTube streaming (and integration), couch multiplayer support, state sharing and an enhanced Google Assistant that takes in queries relating to the game (such as how to progress if you get stuck)
Whilst we know a lot about the Google Stadia, there are some very important things we don’t know namely:
- Its pricing model
- There is no information on whether you pay monthly and you get access to a whole arsenal of games or whether you’ll be able to buy streaming rights to a single game (for the price of a console game) and be able to stream it forever.
- No information has been given on how much a monthly service would cost but some websites are estimating a $15-20/month price
- What games will be available
- Around a 100 game studios have pledged support for the console
- However, it is unclear which games it’ll support with the exception of two games namely Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (tested in Project Stream) and DOOM Eternal
- Google has created a game studio to create exclusives for the Stadia but we don’t know much about that either
How will this affect me?
Obviously, such a large development ought to have some impact on the end-user especially if other companies move to cloud gaming as well. Among these, we find:
- Hacking/modding scenes for gaming platforms are unlikely to ever exist as data is much more tightly controlled and any breaches would most likely be fixed quickly
- As a result, game modding might be impossible unless Google provides some type of official modding functionality
- Cheating will also be more difficult although it might not be 100% impossible
- If you’re a pirate, you’ll be stuck playing older games if games eventually become available only through streaming since there’ll be no way to pirate ;p
- If the streaming service closes, you’ll probably lose access to all your saved games and if a game gets pulled for whatever reason, you won’t be able to play it as you technically don’t own anything (unless they adopt a buy once/stream whenever you want approach)
- Obviously, not all game development studios will be on board with the Google Stadia and might decide to offer their games exclusively on other streaming services.
- This may mean that you’ll end up having to subscribe to multiple services to play all the latest games which might put on a strain on your wallet
- On the plus side, you might save quite a bit of money if you game a lot but if you don’t game a lot, the savings may be minimal or you might end up paying more money than if you owned a traditional game console
- The ability to play on every device you own is pretty cool but I highly doubt many people will do serious gaming on a 5/6″ smartphone so I think that many people will still play on 1-3 different devices and that’s it
While it’s too early to tell whether Google Stadia will be a success or not, we can say that it has a decent amount of potential. However, we don’t know some crucial parts about it and how well it’ll work in real life which means that it might not spell instant death to 8th generation consoles!
You can check out the announcement video below for more information or follow it on Twitter: