Is Google's Latest Move the Future of Gaming?

Introducing Stadia, Google's game-streaming platform
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2019 11:10 AM CDT
Is Google's Latest Move the Future of Gaming?
This image shows the controller for a video-game streaming platform called Stadia, positioning itself to take on the traditional video-game business.   (Google via AP)

Google on Tuesday unveiled a video-game streaming platform called Stadia, positioning itself to take on the traditional video-game business. The platform will store a game-playing session in the cloud and lets players jump across devices operating on Google's Chrome browser and Chrome OS, such as Pixel phones and Chromebooks, per the AP. Google didn't say how much its new service will cost, whether it will offer subscriptions or other options, or what games will be available at launch—all key elements to the success of a new video-game platform. It said only that Stadia will be available in late 2019. "The new generation of gaming is not a box," said Google Vice President Phil Harrison during the announcement at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. "The data center is your platform." Reactions to the news:

  • The future of gaming? Harrison said he expects all gaming will eventually take place outside consoles, in cloud-powered streaming platforms similar to what Google announced. The Verge notes Microsoft is developing its own cloud gaming service, xCloud, and in a memo following Google's announcement, Microsoft's head of gaming sent out a memo saying: "Google went big today and we have a couple of months until E3 when we will go big."
  • No cheating, no hacking. One of the advantages of Google's servers hosting the games and players streaming them is that Google will be monitoring the games for cheaters and hackers. SlashGear has more on that.
  • What happens to your progress if Stadia fails? One potential downfall: If the service fails, or simply if its license for a particular game expires, what happens to the progress you've made in that game? "If this is structured as a subscription service like Netflix, at least consumers will be on notice that games may come and go," one law professor and expert tells Variety. That would still be frustrating, "but at least it wouldn't give the false impression of ownership that consumers have with digital downloads." Variety has more on the varied reactions from the gaming industry.
  • One thing is for certain: Google will need to bring compelling games to Stadia, and so far, the Wall Street Journal notes the company seems to be coming up short.
  • Stadia's competitors. Time notes the big three players in the gaming industry are Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, plus games distribution companies like Steam, and that thanks to its "close integration with Google's YouTube, Stadia will also compete against massive streaming services like Twitch." Google also announced a first-party game studio, which means it could also be competing with publishers like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard.
  • That logo, though. CNET has a look at the Stadia logo and notes that people are roasting it for how retro it is. Most specifically, it looks like an iconic waxed-paper-cup design that debuted in the 1990s.
(More Google stories.)

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