Google has officially announced its entrance to the gaming streaming industry with its first ever streaming service, Stadia. The gaming platform shirks traditional console gaming in an attempt to deliver games without the hassle of installing and downloading content.
Stadia — named for the plural of stadium — was announced on March 19 at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Google expects to release Stadia later this year.
But what makes Stadia different from other game streaming services? After all, it isn’t the first company to tread into this line of gaming.
There are a few key components that set Stadia apart from other gaming services:
- Google will handle the processing and connections via Google-owned data centers
- Google has also unveiled a unique Stadia controller which they claim is the best way to play Stadia-streamed games in an interview with CNN
- Stadia streaming can be utilized on any screen, from your laptop to your phone to your television equipped with Google Chromecast
- Stadia will also be integrated through YouTube, enabling users to simply click on a game and begin playing through their own browser
Google is able to achieve this feat by keeping the games under its own control. In fact, Stadia actually doesn’t allow users to interact with the game’s code at all, freeing up your computer or other playing devices in the process.
Unfortunately, this has also given rise to numerous concerns regarding lag time, preservation, and even modding.
Lag time is an essential component in any sort of online play, especially when it comes to competitive gaming. Though Google will be able to deliver high speeds with impeccable graphics, it will only achieve this feat if the player has a 30 Mb/s connection.
This becomes even more complicated when we factor in data caps from ISPs and consider the upcoming release of 5G networks.
This means that it won’t be accessible to everyone since some areas of the United States cannot receive high-speed internet in the first place.
This also makes taking your video game on the road becomes nearly impossible since you need a constant internet connection to play. At the end of the day, we can play on multiple devices, but we might still be limited to the confines of our couch. And while 36% of sofa-buyers expect to keep a new couch for up to nine years, it isn’t known if Stadia will make enough of an impact to last that long.
It also isn’t known if games streamed through Stadia will be available in other languages. After all, Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world with over 387 million native speakers. On a streaming service that heralds quick play, this might be an issue for non-native English speakers simply clicking a link through YouTube.
When it comes to ease of use, it seems that Google may be leading the charge. But what we gain in accessibility might cost us in creativity and flexibility. For fans with little or even no internet connection, it might be in your best interest to either just stick to the consoles we know and love or contact your internet provider.