Google Stadia: Is it a must or a bust?

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As gaming technology continues to evolve and more companies look to get into the larger picture and push it forward. Among them comes Google with their new streaming Platform, ‘Google Stadia’, which will showdown against Microsoft’s ‘Project XCloud’ when it launches. 

Google Stadia, announced earlier today during GDC 2019, is an upcoming video game and video game streaming service that will let gamers play some of today, and tomorrow’s biggest and even smallest titles on low-end and high-end devices available on the market where experiences aren’t restricted by the hardware that you use.

But how can a world like this exist? Well, as much as we already know about Stadia, we’ve already got our questions, our doubts, and even our concerns we’re ready to see addressed. Sadly, Google Stadia almost seems like it’s something that’s too good to be true, and just like Shadow, we have our questions, very few answers, and even bigger concerns.

However, we’re also excited to see how it will help push gaming technology forward. So let’s get to talking.

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Offline gaming, at this time, won’t be existent on Google Stadia

One of the biggest drawbacks there is to Cloud-based streaming services such as Google Stadia, is offline capabilities, an issue that will be more prevalent than ever before. It was a problem that plagued our experiences with PlayStation Now. We were unable to play our games offline, enjoy the games we know and love, and access them while PlayStation Network or our internet services were down.

Let alone did we run into those troubles, until as of recent, we also found that the service itself couldn’t handle the demand of how many people were attempting to use the service. From input lag to disabled party chat on PlayStation Now, we saw the drawbacks and they were rather clear.

While Google Stadia promises to eliminate input lag, allow for simultaneous online streaming and gameplay elements, the offline capability is still a problem and could be seen as a major drawback to hardcore gamers.

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Cloud technologies such as what Stadia will use, will help power games, and help innovate technology

One of the most astonishing things about Cloud computing is the realm of endless possibilities that it may present to us moving forward. While the waters have only been tested in recent times, namely with games like Titanfall from Respawn Entertainment, we’ve seen what it can do, at least in theory.

We’ve seen these waters tested once before, each developer offering their own unique touch to a system that could very well change how we experience their games, and how patches could be deployed across the cloud without a gamer ever seeing a patch downloaded to their own PC at any given time.

Instead, this type of data could seamlessly transition into the game, just requiring the person playing it to click out and reboot the game within mere seconds of when they had quit. Little-to-no load times, less wear and tear on their hardware, and even the ability to push graphics and animations beyond the point of where they are now.

It’s a beautiful future, one that could present itself sooner than later, and thanks to Google Stadia, the wheels might very well have begun to turn. Only time will tell just how effective a service like this can be and if the global infrastructure can keep up with the supply versus demand.

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American ISP-imposed bandwidth caps could be a major blow to Google Stadia

If you ever talk to anyone, we mean anyone, in the United States, they’ll all tell you there’s one thing they hate the most about their ISPs no matter who it is. They all hate bandwidth caps; that monthly allowance ISPs such as AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner, Suddenlink, and even Centurlink all have in common.

In our unfortunate reality, streaming platforms are a huge part of internet data consumption. Whether it’s services such as Twitch, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or even HBO Go – they all make up a huge portion of internet data consumption. Now, with games getting bigger than ever before, the data usage has continued to grow, and so has the need for more hardware to make the internet more readily available around the globe.

According to the Pew Research Center, the amount of adult users has exponentially grown, seeing as nearly 89% of internet users are adults, ranging from ages 18 to 29. Even with this large of a gap, it’s hard to imagine that not a single one of them uses the internet to play a game or watch a streamer on a platform of their choice.

According to Consumerreports.org, the average household uses between 250 and 300GB in a single month as streaming services become more prominent in the every day home. In the same piece, they, along with Rayburn of Streaming Media, users could easily eat through 1TB if they watched somewhere around 426 shows and or movies through a streaming service such as Netflix.

Now, tack on the idea of a streaming service such as Project XCloud or Google Stadia, and that 1TB mark may not be hard to hit as you play a game at 60fps in 1080p or 4K depending on the settings you choose to use. Just a single 1080p video can use up to 1.6GB an hour, which means that a game at higher resolutions could use as much as 2.6GB an hour with most gaming sessions lasting a minimal of 2-4 hours while lasting as long as 8 to 24 depending on the person. If you do the math, you could easily eat up 20.8GB of your data cap in a single session with a 4K game or roughly 10.8GB in 1080p.

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Google Stadia could change the way we see gaming evolve with ease of use implementations

As online gaming and gaming communities evolve, as does the way gamers react with content creators, developers, publishers, and the games they play. We see this every day whether it’s an up and coming streamer such as The King Slayer through Facebook’s Video Creators program or even well-established content creators such as Tfue over on Twitch; Google Stadia seeks to change the way gamers will interact with their fans via YouTube as a service.

They are looking for enticing ways to bring streamers, content creators, and gamers themselves to the platform. But how can an “ease of use” implementation do this? By a single button that we’ve already seen. It’ll allow gamers to join their favorite streamers with the option of a single button, but it’ll also give the tools needed for streamers to format their stream and user-interactions to be catered to their preferences.

Luckily, this approach to content creation could very well push competitor platforms another step, forcing them to innovate, to create, and to help bring new ways for the users to interact with the streamer or content creator of their choice. Our only concern, didn’t YouTube just shut down YouTube Gaming and move it to another part of YouTube as a whole?

Interesting times we live in for sure and with innovation now at the fingertips of game developers, streaming services, and publishers alike, the possibilities are nearly endless. Now, more than ever, it seems like cloud computing could very well become an every-day piece of our gaming experience moving forward.

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The hardware requirements are almost non-existent

When it comes to a service, we know the possibilities are nearly endless. Developers have yet to really tap the potential of what cloud computing and ethereum blockchain can alter the way we perceive our games to be played and monetization to exist.

Because of programs such as Stadia, Project Genesis, and XCloud, we only have begun to explore just how far games can go without requiring cutting-edge technology from those that play their games. This approach could very well lower down hardware requirements and allow gamers to enjoy their games to the fullest. The only downside here, the internet issue we mentioned above, and it’s a hurdle that we’re sure companies such as Microsoft, 8 Circuit Studios, and Google will push back against to allow for technological growth and advancement.

The only downside? Hardware manufacturers could very well suffer from cloud computing as it would make gaming more readily accessible to PC gamers and could allow any devices as a simple as a mobile phone to play some of today’s hottest titles ranging from Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey to upcoming titles such as DOOM Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077 (please note, that Cyberpunk 2077 has not been confirmed for Stadia and this is only an example we’re making).

This approach to technology could essentially eliminate competition among hardware manufacturers causing prices to rise if services such as Stadia are pulled into the mainstream format for gaming and content creation.

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Google hasn’t even mentioned how much it will cost

With services like Shadow and GeForce Now already has given us a taste of what to expect, which means we already could expect Google Stadia to be rather steep at a monthly cost of around $25 to $50 USD. At this time, unfortunately, GeForce Now doesn’t have a set-in-stone cost, but Shadow? We know Shadow does and it runs roughly $34.99 a month, but with unlimited play and streaming capabilities.

The same assumption could be made about GeForce Now when it releases. It could easily run you between $25 to $50, like Gaikai, and OnLive (both are now apart of PlayStation Now) already does, averaging a set monthly fee or a set cost on a game-to-game basis, which runs $49.99.

At this time, Google isn’t open to discussing this part of their plan and have even refused/denied giving any indication of what possible Stadia users could expect the service to cost if much of anything at all. It wouldn’t be surprising if it costs something along the lines of Google TV or even their YouTube Premium membership.

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In its current state, we’re not sure how to feel about Stadia and the future of gaming that involves streaming

There’s a lot of mixed feelings floating around our team. On one hand, some of us are excited about the idea of a streaming service such as Stadia, which will allow us to play games how we want, when we want, on any device we have available. But our primary concern? Ownership. You’ll lose the ability to own your games, to have a physical copy at your fingertips if you wish to have them, which has left a few of us uncomfortable with this approach to gaming.

Even now, we’re sure that there are others in the same mindset as the few of us in our team are, while others are willing to wait it out and see what the future holds. After all, it’s programs like this that can help push gaming technology forward and help developers along with hardware manufacturers to think outside of the box that they’ve currently grown used to.


About the Writers:

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Dustin is our native console game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPGs, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

 

 


David_Murphy_Vault_BoyDavid Murphy is B.A.T.G.R.’s behind the scenes man who helps get things up and going as well as keeping things in order. Don’t be surprised to know that the old man contributes rather heavily to editing, news, and information he digs up so that editorials, as well as articles, are done properly. He also likes Fallout… A lot. We’re not sure he’s not secretly the Vault Boy in disguise.

 

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