Google’s Stadia, their upcoming video game streaming service, has caused mixed feeling amongst gamers and the industry as a whole. I have seen reactions from slight skepticism to people completely dismissing this new platform. I hold some doubt too, but I find thinking this will end up as a flop or gimmick to be too far.
Google has had plenty of gimmicks that end up going nowhere like their endeavors with Google Glass and other projects. The company has plenty of innovative ideas, but cannot always market it to commercial success. Stadia has potential with its strong lineup of upcoming compatible games and the behemoth that is the gaming industry. This seems to be the first time in a while since it has been able to get a refreshing idea like this to a level of curiosity that has people talking.
“I understand the concern,” Phil Harrison overseer of Stadia, told Kotaku. “But I think that all you have to do is look at the level of investment that we have made and continue to make in Stadia. This is not a trivial project by any means. This is a very, very significant cross-company effort that isn’t just my team, but it’s also across YouTube, it’s across our technical infrastructure and networking team. It represents thousands of people who are working on this business.”
That could be corporate fluff to show confidence in the system in hopes for people to buy into the product, but this interview was back in March. Soon afterward, as of yesterday, Google held Stadia Connect to give a rundown of information on how the service will work. Instead of talking up a grand plan, Stadia is coming this November with a free edition coming next year. That soon, of date, along with the recent event, proves the confidence that Google is serious.
Netflix, Microsoft, and even Google all started off on the wrong foot in the eyes of the world by thinking the innovative ideas that were tossed around would be impossible or even silly to exist. Yet, the skeptics were proven wrong even with some shortcomings from the early childhood of these companies.
The main issue many people seem to point out, something I worry about too, is the availability of stable, high-quality internet. The average world speed as of last year is 9.1Mbps, slightly below the minimum recommended for Stadia. Generally, internet service is getting better worldwide, but that is mostly because of widely developed nations that can bring out the latest technology as soon as possible.
I can go into Stadia without any internet worries, but that is not for everyone. The average in California, where I live, is about 24.6Mbps. To get the right service, that can become costly, and not everyone can afford to pay for Stadia, especially in the United States which pays more for moderate service, and high-end internet, at least until the free tier comes in 2020.
Technologies coming will make services like Stadia cheaper while tackling latency and bandwidth issues. Orion, a piece of software that Bethesda announced at E3, is the first significant step towards handling the concerns that so many people have towards streaming games. The goal will be to lower the price for consumers and publishers while taking on those technical hurdles.
Seeing where the future will take us can become difficult, but being open-minded enough can help develop some awareness. Gaming will reach a level to stream everything, it lays on when it is possible. Xbox’s streaming service and Stadia are two examples that will push everything forward. It might not be perfect at launch, but in a few years, these services will strike a massive market.
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