Back in March, Google announced Stadia, a wide-reaching cloud gaming platform that will integrate with YouTube and other forms of social media to provide instant access to games, in addition to reaching a wider potential customer base. A lot of the technical details sound impressive but information on pricing, real-world performance and game announcements has been slim. Fortunately, we’ll be learning more on those three points very soon.
Google will be revealing the business model behind Stadia, announcing new games for the service and a launch date at some point this summer. The summer season officially runs from the 21st of June through until the 23rd of September, so that possibly rules out E3, which starts on the 11th of June. However, it does leave the door open for Google to either host its own event or kick things off at Gamescom in August.
So far, we don’t know if Stadia users will need to subscribe monthly for access to a library, similar to Netflix, or if you will be renting play time on the server, as other cloud gaming services have attempted in the past. The other possibility is that you buy permanent access to a game by paying the full upfront retail cost. This is still something that needs to be cleared up before consumers can even consider Stadia.
Beyond that, game availability also needs to be considered. A lot of console launches ride on their ability to have top-tier games available at launch and it will be no different with Stadia. We do know that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will be available on Google’s service, as will DOOM Eternal, but there will need to have a wider variety of games in order to sell. An exclusive game wouldn’t hurt either- Google does have its own Stadia Games first-party studio, but we have no idea what they are working on at the moment.
Finally, we also don’t know when Stadia will launch. Google promises answers to all of these questions ‘this Summer’, with a launch in the US, Canada, Europe and the UK later in 2019. If these announcements come later in the summer, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to convince people to try it out at launch.
KitGuru Says: I’m willing to give Stadia a shot, if only to get a gauge on how far game-streaming technology has come since I last tried it out. At this point, I have experience with OnLive, PlayStation Now and GeForce Now. With Google, expectations will be higher, largely due to the company’s massive global data centre infrastructure.