Google showcased their foothold in the gaming industry today with Stadia. Stadia is Google's game-streaming service where everything is run entirely on the magic of Google, and beamed to any display you own that has an internet connection.
Check out all of the technical details on Stadia details on Google's Stadia product page.
Watch the Stadia Connect presentation.
Five so years ago I wouldn't have understood Stadia. I was a card carrying member of the "I want my hardware and my hard copy" club. My life has changed significantly.
Now I'm all about the cloud services. I actively seek to make my entire life beamed from the cloud onto all of my devices. I demand the ability to pick up where I left off on any device. If an app on my phone isn't seamless with the app on my PC, I won't use it. Google has always been the leader for me there, with Apple and a few other companies right behind.
I'm also big on maximizing space and convenience. One less box to dust each week? Cool.
Conceptually, I like the premise of Stadia. Pick up my controller on my iPad or open the app on my computer and suddenly I'm playing without or hardware in 4k.
Previous streaming services haven't been so great. Even now, a lot of the "streaming" services I use have horrible quality. I'm a power user of Google's Chrome Remote Desktop. I practically can't live without it when I travel. The quality, even on the same network, is pretty sketch.
Now they're promising 4k and 60fps on a 35mbps connection? I have a "gigbit" connection, so when my ISP isn't completely ripping me off I get about 750mbps.
There are other barriers to entry. If you want to play on a TV, you'll need their Chromecast Ultra ($60). My TV already has all the apps, and so do my consoles, so I've never had the need -- I assume many of you are in the same situation.
You'll also need to have their special controller, which will run you $70. That's competitively priced right up there with the usual 'Pro' controllers. This one is special, though, because they alluded to some special connectivity between the controller and the game server.
The only way you'll play with Stadia in 2019 is by pre-ordering one of the founder pack deals where they bundle the controller, Chromecast, and some extra crap for $129. The value is there on the Chromecast and controller alone.
The most pressing questions I have revolve around multiplayer. Singleplayer games are one thing, and despite needing an internet connection to play them with Stadia, it makes sense. But what about multiplayer? Which platform and I playing with? PC? Playstation? Xbox? Is it its own ecosystem and I can only play with Stadia users?
If Stadia were to really want to make an impact, imagine if they were finally the ones to break the barriers and be the only true way to play cross-platform. Stadia users playing with any platform they want... that would be amazing.
I have questions.
Summary of Questions
- How will online multiplayer work? Can we play only with Stadia, or will Google break the cross-platform barriers?
- How much are the games?
- Can we expect the library of games to be comprehensive?
- What about games that require an additional account to play, such as an MMO or Battlefield?
Pending answers to the above, I'm genuinely intrigued by Stadia. Enough so that I would consider being a customer. I probably wouldn't even need 4k -- I'm fine on 1080p for now -- so I don't need to pay a monthly subscription. This entire platform will live and die by the games it offers and how it brings players together instead of keeping them apart.
I love the innovation, and I hope companies like Google continue to streamline our technology and how we utilize it wherever and however we please.