A few notes about the Google Stadia reactions.
Yesterday, Google revealed its attempt to push into the $140 Billion dollar gaming industry. The Google Stadia. Immediately after the announcement came a flood of gamer haterade with a plus 10 bonus to snark and sass.
As a streaming platform, the Stadia is positioned to compete against all the current gaming big dogs. The Sony Playstation, Microsoft’s Xbox, even PC gaming is in the cross hairs.
The major piece of the announcement is that the Stadia isn’t contained in a console box. It’s cloud gaming. You have only a controller and an internet connection and you’re off. Google presented this idea as “no boxes, no limits, and already prepared to handle anything that comes next in gaming.”
The reactions across the internet were in a range of “meh” to “never.”
Starting today, Google is circling the wagons and no doubt writing a damage control plan. As they prepare to convince the market that they’re actually a good choice, let’s examine some of the main reasons gamers are attacking them with all the hate memes that one industry can muster.
1. GAME OWNERSHIP
This is going to sound counter-intuitive but go with me on this journey.
At first glance, gamers seem like people who would LOVE cutting edge industry change. Pushing the boundaries of tech is after all, a staple of this market. However over the past few years its become clear that one of the biggest changes coming is the removal of true “game ownership.” The future looks like a place where gamers stream through a service, or own a digital copy of their game. The former would involve no game ownership at all, the latter would be a situation where any company can change or modify your digital copy at will.
For this reason many gamers are turning to and pushing for true physical game ownership. The streaming world is not the future they envision as “good for the industry.”
2. MISTRUST IN THE TECH
In preparation for the release, Google gave out copies of Stadia to a few journalists. Those folks agreed to play Assassins Creed: Odyssey on the device and report back their findings.
AC:O was chosen because it’s a beefy meaty monster of a game. Technologically it has as much muscle as the titular Greek mercenaries you play as. The map is huge and it’s a great stress-test for the tech Google is pushing. Instead of downloading the game onto a system, Stadia is leaning on Google’s cloud to live-render the game as it’s being played.
In our current zeitgeist of media mistrust, many gamers are not convinced that the average AAA game can run over wireless, this despite many of the testers claiming to have an excellent experience. Google is even claiming that the Stadia set up can get 60 frames per second and 4K resolution. Suspicious glares are even now being aimed at the company and this claim.
COST? GAMES? INTERNET?
Because this was an initial presentation there’s of course a lot of unanswered questions which I’ve smashed into this last category.
We still don’t know the exact pricing model of the Stadia set up. How much is the controller? Is this a monthly subscription? Am I buying the games, renting the games, or something else? Google has claimed that this brings a massive amount of accessibility to gamers everywhere, so one has to assume a lower/competitive price point, but we don’t know that point yet.
Another great question, what’s the library of Stadia games? How long will they remain on the database? Will they periodically shuffle games around similar to Netflix movies?
Finally, and probably most problematic. What’s the exact specs needed for your home internet? Perhaps an even more unsettling question, will ISP’s feel the desire to throttle speeds? Talk about a gamer riot.
There are a lot of unanswered questions here. What are your thoughts on the Stadia? Let us know in the comments!
Nathan is a co-host on the Splash Damage Bros. Podcast and currently runs social media for the group. He’ll be at the Southern Fried Gaming Expo in ATL in July.