On March 19th, Google announced a new service called “Stadia”, in which gamers could play video games on any internet-enabled devices. By having the games run on Google’s servers, the company claims that users can resume gameplay almost instantly while switching devices. With this innovation, Google believes that Stadia will be “the future of Gaming”. Therefore, if the launch of the service becomes successful, the future of traditional game consoles could be jeopardized. The company will discuss more about the service’s pricing later this summer.
Google’s keynote on the service began with its CEO Sundar Pichai stating that the goal for Stadia was to allow players to quickly start playing the game. He mentioned that Stadia would remove the hassle of downloading games for an hour because they would already be stored in the cloud. He also asserted to game developers that Stadia would benefit them by allowing their games to be run on the most advanced hardware the service has to offer. “As a developer, you’re used to being forced to tone down your creative ambitions that are limited by the hardware”, Pichai emphasizes, “but our vision with Stadia is the processing resources available will scale up to match your imagination.”
Google plans to integrate Stadia’s features into its own video sharing website, YouTube. One of them would be “State Sharing”, where YouTube creators can publish their game’s save state to their audience. The save state would allow the audience to exactly start the game off from the YouTube creator’s exact game progress. When the creator is broadcasting his online multiplayer live on YouTube, the feature “Crowd Play” allows the audience to join the streamer’s exact game room by pressing the join button.
While the service seemed promising, some people were skeptical. For instance, an attendee of the keynote, Ryan Alexander, tweeted that he tried playing a game demo and noticed that the game lagged when the player moved the mouse and when the game had registered the input. To make matters worse, Varsity claimed that internet providing oligopolies, including Comcast, would have the opportunity to specifically throttle internet speeds for Stadia to compete against Google, since the FCC’s net neutrality laws are now the thing of the past.
There is only one way to know if Google’s newest innovation would work: wait until the service launches soon this year and try it out.