Google is heading into the gaming business with its new platform, Stadia, thought to make all other tv-gaming consoles obsolete. According to Google, players will be able to play anywhere and anytime – on any device. Here’s what we know so far…
What is Stadia?
Stadia is a streaming platform for games enabling users to play the latest games directly through Google’s Chrome browser. According to Google’s presentation, the idea is that users can be informed about a new game through YouTube Ads and trailers, and simply press <Play Now> to play the game in question, regardless of device.
To start a session on one device, before switching to another, is going to be very popular
— Bob O’Donnell, Chief Analyst at Techanalysis Research
How is this possible?
The processing power enabling gameplay stems from Google’s own data center, which has enormous capacity. Therefore it won’t matter if you’re playing from a phone, a computer or on your TV since everything will be run through the internet.
Does it really work?
In the fall of ’18 Google let some gamers test-play Ubisoft’s Assasins Creed Odyssey through Chrome, in a project called “Stream”. Assasins Creed Odyssey is a modern and demanding game power-wise, and according to the gaming site Polygon it worked just fine.
Are there any limitations?
Since everything is run online the quality of the users’ internet connection will play a key role. Unlike music or video games are often very complex and demanding in nature. And when players perform an action, it’s important that the game reacts instantly. A delay of one second would be detrimental to the whole experience.
There’s no room for error, if the quality of the gameplay isn’t good enough gamers will find other alternatives
— Scott Kessler, Analyst at CFRA
What’s in it for Google?
Right now it is a little unclear just how Google stands to monetize Stadia, and how the game developers will get paid. Bob O’Donnel at Techanalysis Research thinks the platform will likely involve a subscription model. In a recent survey O’Donnel did, with 2,000 students from the US and China, 80% said that they would be interested in a streaming platform for games.
Which games will be available on Stadia?
Apart from Assassins Creed Odyssey — Doom Eternal, basketball-game NBA 2K19, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Google has also launched its own game development studio with EA-veteran Jade Raymond in charge. Chrome has around 1 billion users worldwide, so the question is if the big gaming studios can afford to miss out?
How are the games controlled?
Google are releasing their own controller with two special buttons. En button to share ones game-play to other viewers through YouTube, and one button to get help from Google Assistant if you’re stuck within the game. Google also says that the platform will be compatible with other controllers.
When will Stadia be released?
Later this year in the US, Canada and in the EU. Google has hinted that more information will follow closer to the summer.