Paige FTW: Google Gets Into Gaming

Google has its eye set on disrupting the gaming industry with Google Stadia — a no-console, all-streaming service that would eliminate the need for Xboxes, Switches and PlayStations, as well as physical game copies and downloads altogether.

As everything moves into the cloud, it seems like a logical step, right? We stream movies and music, so why not games? Services that attempt to do this already exist, anyway.

If it works — and that’s a big “if” right now, given what we don’t know — it could absolutely be a game-changer. Any connection on any device can (supposedly) result in a quality streaming game experience. All you need is Google’s new Wi-Fi-enabled controller to achieve it (or a keyboard).

But there are several big questions remaining: How much is this going to cost, and can Google really achieve consistent, no-noticeable-lag quality on any device and connection?

Gaming obviously is one of the more expensive hobbies a person could have. A top-tier gaming computer can run in the thousands (or at least, a single thousand), and consoles cost several hundreds at most. Would it be nice to have to only pay, say, $20 per month to play all the new, hottest releases? Sure. Is that even a realistic price tag, though?

But that cost is there for a reason. The infrastructure is expensive, but it works. Even if you could stream Stadia on a 10 mbps connection, having a 30 mbps connection is just … objectively better. And early reports say that there is lag on Stadia — enough to make a noticeable difference for competitive multiplayer titles. 

There’s also the question of how developers will be adequately compensated for their efforts — the Spotify model works well for the biggest artists and less so for indies.

We need more information — otherwise, you’ll find me hard-pressed to give up my beloved PS4.