Stadia

April 13, 2020 • #

I enabled a trial of Google’s Stadia gaming service yesterday to kick the tires. In Google fashion, their entry into the gaming market isn’t centered around consoles and hardware, but cloud-distributed streaming.

During the unveiling at GDC last year, it seemed impossible to believe that you could deliver a latency-free, 4K experience in high-end games.

15 years ago I was gaming a lot more, but in the last several I’ve done almost none outside of the random iPhone game. I still loosely follow the gaming industry, and often wish I could easily jump in and mess around in games without the heavy investment in consoles and $60+ titles.

Stadia gets you around the need for upfront expense, and its subscription model should make it easier to dip in and try games.

Within 2 minutes of making my account, I had Destiny 2 loaded up. It runs inside a browser window and has some amazing auto-scaling tech to keep latency low and graphics as high as they can be given bandwidth constraints. In the few minutes I ran around, the visuals were in and out, but completely playable.

The big console makers should be worried. This is exactly the type of disruptive shift that steals customers. It’s not ready to pull over the hardcore gamers, to be sure, but the semi-casual folks like me never want to own more hardware. If they can improve the tech (which is a certainty) and get the business model right for subscriptions (less certain), they could capture big market share in games.