Google has thrown their hat into the gaming arena, with plans to bring a console-free gaming experience to any household with an internet connection in late 2019. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy with the future prospect Google has surprised us with.
We’ve seen streaming and instantly accessible DLC before, but never like this. Never without a console.
Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Google has created a platform designed to stream video games over TV, smartphones, and tablets without a console.
Introducing… Stadia! Honestly, not my favorite name Google. Not my favorite.
Stadia is essentially Netflix for video games! No more downloads, no more updates, and no more untangling a billion cords when trying to set up a console. Life changing for someone like me that tends to store all the cords in the same bin…With names like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Doom Eternal said to be releasing on Stadia, Google won’t have a hard time convincing players to hop on the bandwagon.
The only hardware piece you need is the controller (price yet to be announced) and Chromecast ($35) for your TV.
Stadia offers us the quality we so very much love about Netflix and Spotify: easily accessible streaming. I mean, click a link and start gaming? Can’t get much easier than that.
To make it even better, Stadia will also allow players to transition between their smartphone, laptop, and TV as Google Product Manager Khaled Abdel Rahman,, did here: https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2019/03/19/google-stadia-gaming-zw-orig.cnn/video/playlists/business-tech/.
Not to mention an exciting little feature that Google invented to allow online sharing (more later).
We are entering a new era for the gaming industry indeed, but along with less hardware, comes even more questions about how exactly this console-less system will work.
Let’s dive in.
Stadia will utilize Wi-Fi with the possibility of eventually streaming over 5G connections in the future. Processing will take place at off-site data centers rather than local devices.
Sounds almost a little too good to be true. You know what I mean?
Who’s to say that our connections will not hinder the performance of the game? If there is a gamer living in a rural area with poor connection, will Stadia still perform at high-quality speed?
We all know how frustrating having no cell reception is, and we still struggle with it now in poorly-connected areas. Trying to play a high-quality video game in a low Wi-Fi area starts to sound impossible when you take a closer look.
Let’s hope that Google has something up their sleeve to relieve these daunting fears that spring up around Stadia’s connectivity.
The YouTube Connection
One of Stadia’s most promising and intriguing features is the YouTube connection. Quick access to YouTube without pausing the game!? What kind of sorcery is this!?
It’s damn good sorcery, that’s what it is.
With almost 200 million people watching gaming videos every day, Stadia capitalizes on the weight YouTube holds within the gaming industry. Allowing players to instantly pull up YouTube while the game is still in play will immensely increase YouTube's gaming viewership, which will add more cash into Google’s pocket. Kudos to you, Google.
If you’re like me and you’ve died 10+ times trying to defeat a boss, you’ve probably grabbed your phone to pull up YouTube and eagerly watch whatever video pops up first with a title like “Zelda Breath of the Wild: Defeating a Lionel.” Pausing the game to stop and watch really throws a wrench in the flow of the overall experience, but with Stadia, players can play and watch simultaneously. This will be a true time saver when it comes to those nasty boss fights that will leave “Game Over” imprinted into your mind. I still have nightmares.
The Surprise: State Share
Here’s the hook, line, and sinker. The new twist Stadia presents: State Share. The ability to share locations and moments online without pausing the game.
Similar to dropping a pin in Google Maps (maybe where they got the idea), state share allows players to save a moment in time through a web link. Not only will this “pin,” when clicked, take you to the exact same moment, it will also replicate the original player’s status. Their inventory, world state, and other key elements will all become yours. *crowd gasps*
Take a peek for yourself on IGN’s page here: https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/03/19/google-stadia-state-sharing-demo.
Imagine the challenges that will arise with this revelation. Future gamers testing each other’s abilities to defeat levels or bosses with low life and low inventory. I can already see the menacing YouTube headlines beckoning gamers to try out challenges that scream Game Over.
YouTubers will be able to share key moments with their subscribers by effortlessly posting a web link in their video descriptions. There’s no limit to how many links you can create either.
Like Fortnite, players will also have the option to allow viewers to join in and watch their live streaming game while playing along with them. Great for those that enjoy sitting back and watching the best players take on difficulty levels that reach a little too high for any average-joe gamer.
Thanks Stadia for giving us even more reason to challenge each other and bring the gaming community together through sharing!
The only hardware piece needed to play Stadia on your TV through Chromecast is the controller. Similar to any other Wi-Fi connected controller, the Stadia controller introduces a new ability to access Google Assistant.
Simply press the Google Assistant button, ask a question aloud, and ta-da! A YouTube video will appear with the best result Google Assistant could find. All of this happens while you are still playing the game. No pausing required. Repeat, no pausing required!
As gaming industry giants begin to join the streaming war, the question remains: who will stay on top?
How will this new style impact our beloved OG gaming companies? Microsoft and Sony both began implementing streaming into their consoles with XCloud and PlayStation Now. What sets Stadia apart is it’s lack of console. Will Stadia revolutionize the video game industry with this ease of console-less games? No doubt Microsoft and Sony, along with other gaming companies, are beginning to develop their own twist on console-less streaming systems.
Their first big obstacle will be Stadia’s connectivity reach. What will happen if Stadia receives poor Wi-Fi connection? Will Google’s data out performance other gaming companies with high-quality game play? How much bandwidth will players have?
More importantly, how much will the platform cost? Should we assume Stadia must be cheaper than other platforms since it’s console-less? Will it be a subscription? Are advertisements going to be a problem? Will using different devices change the game play, like whether all functions are available on a smartphone?
Google is already finding their hands full with a lot of these questions being hurled their way. The only thing we can do is wait and hope they answer them in the upcoming months leading to Stadia’s release (which has been hinted to be in late 2019).
Watch the full presentation here: