Google’s latest announcement Stadia has laid the groundwork for the future of gaming. The Cloud-based service, called ‘Stadia’ will be accessible to anyone with decent Internet speed. Players will be able to play and stream on Youtube at the same time while not requiring extensive hardware and investment. Google is one of the latest entrants into Cloud based gaming, one which will see them compete against established players in the field.
Stadia is not limited by the user’s hardware and is accessible with any controller. Google has launched its own controller and recommends using it, however, Stadia’s beauty lies in the support for cross-platform play. There are positives as well as drawbacks to the concept of Cloud based gaming. Users have the freedom of playing games with minimal investments in hardware. However, technically they do not own the game offline. Even to play single player games, users need to have a fast Internet speed, which will help them play graphics intensive games without any problem. In addition to this, we do not know of Google’s business plan for Stadia.
The future of gaming is not a box. It’s a place.
— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) March 19, 2019
The initial reviews for Stadia are impressive. Google has been testing Stadia [ called Project Stream earlier] with Assasins Creed: Odyssey since the past few months. A gamer only needs a good Internet speed and can play games across multiple devices such as Phones, Tablets, Laptops or TVs. Described as the ‘Netflix of Gaming’, this new streaming service has the potential to change the concept of gaming.
Stadia eliminates platform dependency
The current market for console gaming is dominated by Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s X-box. The two platforms have a variety of games on their platforms and also have the advantage of being the early mover. However, gamers cannot always play with each other if they are not from the same platform. A player with an account on the X-Box cannot play a player using a PlayStation. The lack of cross-platform play is one of the most requested features. However, the companies behind these consoles want to create a closed environment ensuring customer loyalty.
Stadia has several features which make it an endearing platform for gamers. One of the best features for gamers will be the elimination of cross-platform barriers. Users will be able to play the game from any device such as an X-Box controller, PlayStation, Laptop or Mobile. This was one of the highlights for the official announcement. All they need is a good Internet connection and chrome browser.
Google will face intense competition in this field
The gaming industry already has several strong players in the field. Organisations such as Steam, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and many others. The industry has seen itself move towards cloud Gaming, although the concept of Cloud gaming is still at its nascent stage. Steam recently announced its plans for streaming live from its platform. Stadia provides the ability to play games online as well as stream them on Youtube to their followers.
With new innovations and focus on faster Internet speeds, we will see games and services move to the online space. This move is very similar to what happened with the live Television industry as well as the music industry. Google owns a high number of data centres all over the world. They can leverage the same for their Stadia network and providing low latency gaming to Stadia users. Users will be able to play their favourite games with just a Chrome Browser and a good Internet connection. However, there are minute details which need attention in order to prove the success of Stadia.
Competition in this field is good for the gaming industry. It will help bring down prices, will ensure everyone can play their favourite games as well as improve the quality of gaming experience. There are also downsides to Stadia, which can hopefully be solved in the future.
Google Stadia specifications
- CPU: Custom 2.7GHz hyper-threaded x86 CPU with AVX2 SIMD and 9.5MB L2+L3 cache
- GPU: Custom AMD GPU with HBM2 memory and 56 compute units, capable of 10.7 teraflops
- Memory: 16GB of RAM with up to 484GB/s of performance
- SSD cloud storage
Representatives from Google have confirmed that they have playtested Stadia with speeds averaging around 25 – 30 Mbps speeds. These speeds are already average in certain areas and we can implement Stadia with these speeds. However, faster internet speeds does not always mean unlimited Internet usage. Most of the Internet Service Providers feature a data cap for the amount of Internet. With these speeds and especially with gaming, it will invariably lead to faster usage of data caps. It could prove to be a huge hindrance to gaming in the future.
Google Stadia is one for the future, it will enable users with little to no hardware investment to play some top tier games. It definitely eliminates the need for hardware investment, however, it is by no means cheap. Google has not announced its business model yet ( we expect official news regarding the pricing and structure of the system in the second half of 2019). However, there are reports that Google will employ a subscription-based model quite similar to Netflix.
Factors affecting Stadia’s success
- Pricing and its format.
- Catalogue of game Titles.
Pricing and its format
The Pricing of Stadia and its format is crucial for the platform’s initial success. There is no reason for users to give up their existing platform be it Playstation, X-Box or PC gaming platforms such as Steam. After all, they already have a significant investment in their hardware and PC components.
However, it is a two-faced coin as there are numerous users who do not have the best hardware. Buying PC parts and other hardware often entails a significant downright investment. If gamers have google Internet speed, they can leverage Google’s Datacenters to experience good overall performance.
Google’s pricing needs to be affordable to the average gamer. If Google gets its prices right, we can see fast adoption of the technology in the upcoming years.
Catalogue of Gaming Titles
The online gaming space is currently witnessing a tight battle for dominance of gaming platforms. Steam is the undoubted leader when it comes to online gaming libraries. However, Epic Games has challenged Steam and their high developer’s cut from the sale of games.
The only way to win this battle is to ensure a wide array of games on their platform. Epic Games is approaching this issue with a very low developer’s fee. They want to enable developers to profit more from the sale of their games. Will Google follow a similar model? For now, they are working with individual game developers to release their titles on Google Stadia. After the successful trial of Assasin’s Creed: Odyssey, Google is now working to bring the Doom franchise onto its platform.
The last but not the least of the features for Stadia will be the performance of the platform. Will Stadia be able to live up to the expectations of gamers at present? Or will Stadia feature input lag and provide a sub-optimal experience for players.
Ensuring a good performance is of paramount importance for the success of Google Stadia. Today’s players are not used to substandard performance and they will play on the platform with the best performance.
For now, Google’s Stadia seems something for the future. But technology is rapidly improving and we are seeing faster and more reliable internet speeds. Data caps and slow Internet Speeds are the biggest obstacles to the implementation of Stadia.
Cloud Gaming is the future of gaming whether you like it or not. There are multiple companies trying their best to get the best Cloud-based gaming product out there. Google’s entry into this field is important because they already have a good infrastructure set up for the same. What do you think of Cloud Gaming? Will you miss being able to play games offline and/or a physical copy of the game? Let us know in the comments below.