Google recently announced the Stadia game streaming service and hope to launch it in 2019.
The search giant is known to be ambitious and try things they haven’t done before. The thought of playing 4K games at 60 frames per second is a nice, but not everything Google does end up like the homerun that Gmail proved to be.
Stadia is ambitious and sounds exciting, but there’s no reason to think it won’t be the next Google Plus. Here are five reasons why the Stadia will fail to unseat PCs and consoles as the platforms of choice for most gamers.
America’s poor internet infrastructure
Our internet in the US is not the greatest. The selling point of the Stadia is that you don’t need to buy gaming systems. Instead, you need high speed internet, which is also expensive. It’s also not available everywhere. Many ISPs in the US have expensive internet or data caps. That’s not even factoring in how many people only have one or two choices for internet at all. You can’t stream games at high quality on broadband internet. Single-player games would be a chore to try and run, let alone multiplayer games. You know what does run single-player games without a hitch? PCs and consoles, which Stadia can’t hope to compete with in the current landscape of American internet.
Streaming multiplayer at all
Google has already said Doom Eternal will be coming to the Stadia. They showcased gameplay on the Stadia, and it honestly didn’t look too bad. But it also didn’t look like multiplayer. Multiplayer relies on a stable connection and robust speeds, which we know the Stadia won’t be able to deliver to most Americans. You won’t be playing games where a few frames can decide a game. That means no Overwatch, Apex Legends, or Fortnite. That already limits the prospects of the Stadia’s game library. Even if they come out with fun indie titles, if you don’t have the bigger, more popular games available to play, gamers won’t be flocking to the Stadia.
Convincing developers to come on board
AAA games take a huge amount of investment. Google has said they’ll be developing games for the platform, but that won’t be competitive at all. How will Google convince big studios to develop games for the Stadia? If anything, they might have to rely on hosting older titles that were already financially successful. But even if they manage that, why get the Stadia for Skyrim or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt? Chances are if a gamer wants to play these, they already own them. And again, given how restrictive internet is, how will the Stadia keep up with hardware improvements? No one will subscribe to 2013 PS4 specs in 2019.
There’s no real confidence in Google’s side projects
Google has enough successful projects that they can afford to try riskier projects whose outcome is uncertain. And they’ve failed plenty of times when trying to compete with big players. Google Play Music versus Spotify, Google Plus versus Facebook, Google Spaces versus Slack and Skype come to mind. Did Google win any of those? No, they didn’t.
Google often tries to succeed with an idea rather than a foundation to build upon. Why expect them to fare any better against the titans of gaming like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, who all have decades more experience wooing gamers? And with how often Google shuts down their failing ventures, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see Stadia gamers lose all of their games without a way to get them back. You won’t find any consumer confidence with this track record looming over the Stadia.
Stadia is a solution looking for a problem
Perhaps the most glaring problem of all: what issue is the Stadia even trying to solve? It isn’t solving anything, frankly. Sure, gaming PCs can be expensive, but there’s a huge amount of affordable options for those who want to go the extra mile. Consoles are an easy and relatively cheap alternative to PCs.
Microsoft even has the Xbox Game Pass, which is a similar service to Stadia for $10 a month. Stadia is basically offering less than what the Xbox already has for what will likely be more money. And Steam – let’s not forget about them, as they’re the biggest PC gaming platform – has huge annual sales, letting you stock up on a year’s worth of games for bargain bin prices.
To me at least, it’s clear that Google is working hard on what they hope to be an innovative option for gamers. But they seem to overlook the fact that they won’t be serving many people at all. There are multiple better options no matter how you look at it. The so-called “Netflix of gaming” concept simply won’t work in today’s market as conditions exist now.