Stadia: Google's Uphill Battle
GDC: Google's Developer Conference
Last October, a few of us in our office were granted access to the Project Stream beta. We concluded that this could be the technology that disrupts the industry and creates a platform where we can seamlessly play AAA games without a download or install.
In the lead up to Google's keynote at GDC, it's safe to say we were very excited, and we still are. The idea that games are going to become more streamlined, and less to get in the way of jumping in and playing games had us chomping at the bit for details. This big announcement really had the potential to wow us and prove that Google was pioneering a new era of gaming. One without the need for a hardware upgrade every few years.
What we ultimately got from Google was a keynote that was very obviously run by a company that doesn't understand the video game industry yet. Watching this conference brought back memories of the original Xbox One launch. There were tons of compelling ideas meant to make players more connected than ever before, but they forgot one crucial component: the games. The lack of games during that whole hour just had us scratching our heads.
The technical specs of Stadia are without a doubt very compelling (10.1 teraflops? Ridiculous!), but if the Nintendo Switch has taught us anything, it's that you don't need state of the art horsepower to be incredibly awesome. To win people over on Stadia, Google had three extremely crucial boxes to tick:
- Dazzle us with all of the games available on the platform
- Give us a release date
- Give us a price
And we only sort of got one of those. Yes, the YouTube integration and development kit are both extremely awesome, but those are extra features. People are going to be using your service primarily to play games, so show them what they'll get to experience!
After streaming this conference, we were just left underwhelmed. There were certainly some impressive moments, like the claim of being able to stream at 4k with 60fps very soon. That alone will be a true game changer. Plus the controller with google assistant integration is a very good idea.
But after having played the project stream beta and watching this keynote, there's really only one thing thats certain...
The Tech Works and It Is Incredible
We're still on board with Stadia, because as of now this is the only service that is truly trying to push gaming into the future with new technology and fresh ideas. Playing Assassin's Creed: Odyssey on a 2011 Macbook really seemed like straight-up black magic, and we're most likely never going to shake the feeling that Google is on to something huge.
Google has proven that their tech is extremely impressive, but they still have a long way to go in terms of getting gamers on board. They do have a promising 1st party development studio that could crank out some interesting IP. Let's hope that around E3 time will be when Google takes the step to stop showing us the tech, and start showing us the games.
So don't let this keynote get you down, FreekNation. Stadia has a lot to prove before it's validated in the eyes of gamers, but there's still time for them to make all of our game streaming dreams come true! And if they don't then some other company definitely will...
What did you think of Google Stadia? Are you super stoked or losing hope? Either way, let us know in the comments! Also be sure to check out our retelling of a piece of gaming history.