Google recently announced plans to step into the already-crowded gaming space with a streaming service called Stadia. The Stadia service will require no hardware and will stream directly to whatever screen or device you can access it on.
Some gamers are excited about the prospect, but others still are hesitant to have Google step into this space.
The technology works using Google’s own servers to handle the processing of the actual game. Much like streaming a video from YouTube, Stadia will allow players to access games stored elsewhere. This service is being touted as Google’s entry into the “console wars,” going into direct competition with Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PS4 and Nintendo’s Switch.
The only hardware that will be on sale for the Stadia service is the Stadia controller. While you can use any USB controller or keyboard and mouse combo, the Stadia controller will allow for in-depth sharing features. Streaming and sharing will be a huge aspect of Stadia’s marketing.
While many are excited for the prospect of playing AAA games without having to own any tech, others are apprehensive. Google has shown itself capable of subsuming entire industries (web search, internet advertising, streaming video services) and people are uncertain about seeing them enter the gaming space.
Concerns also include how players will mod games if they don’t own them. Likewise, paying for a subscription, or paying for access to a game, that you don’t own is a strange prospect. Google is relatively infamous for abandoning projects shortly after starting them.
Remember Google Allo? No? What about Google Health, Google Reader, Google+, and Google Okrut? Many fear that Google will allow Stadia to suffer this same fate if it doesn’t draw the right subscriber numbers. What happens to all the games people have bought on Stadia if they shut the servers down?
These fears will likely cool any cautious optimism about the project. Google hasn’t announced any plans for pricing, and they’ve only given a vague 2019 window for release. Time will tell whether the service lives up to Google’s undoubtedly lofty expectations.