Monday, May 13, 2019

Google’s Entry into Online Gaming Could Have Major Repercussions on the Gaming Industry

online gaming

Google just announced that they were intending to get into the gaming market. But the way they decided to do so sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Instead of introducing a console, Google stated that they were going to enter into the world of cloud gaming. This would allow people to play their favorite games anytime, anywhere, from any device with nothing but a controller, mouse and keyboard, or by using tap control on mobile devices.

If done correctly, this could turn the world of gaming upside down, and change the way people play and consume games. However, many observers are still skeptical about Google’s initiatives as many questions are still left unanswered.

An Overview of Stadia
While Stadia isn’t the first attempt at cloud gaming, no company before had the resources to provide the level of gameplay PC gamers have come to expect. No company was able to deploy servers close enough to gamers so they wouldn’t have to deal with insufferable high ping and delay. But Google could, and promised that they will be able to provide 4K HDR graphics at 60 fpm, which is unheard of in cloud gaming. However, these claims have raised some eyebrows among some observers.

Experts are Having Mixed Reactions
While a lot of people were visibly excited about the announcement, many insiders have expressed some concerns about the new platform. One observer stated that while everything looked good on paper, there isn’t any proof that it will actually work in action and that it is still just a big promise at the moment. Unless everyone is able to play games at the same speed with even a basic setup and internet connection, then the platform would be very limiting.

Another observer stated that Stadia championed and violated some of the core principles of PC gaming culture at the same time. For instance, Stadia could provide more inclusivity and allow people who don’t have the means to buy expensive consoles or games to join in. But, on the other hand, PC gamers have always loved the idea of actual ownership, and having control over hardware, settings and mods.

A large part of PC gaming is about tinkering with settings and being able to build and optimize machines. 4K at 60 frames per minute may sound like music to the ears of console players, but PC players are more interested in something like 1440p on a 144hz screen.

That’s where there could be a disconnect. Stadia speaks more to console gamers than PC gamers, but could still disrupt that space when it comes to casual players who just want to pick up a game and play and aren’t too concerned about specs. PC gamers, on the other hand, aren’t fond of walled gardens and very much value their privacy. They also don’t want to be limited by their ISP when it comes to gaming performance.

Communication could be an issue as well, and those with better equipment might have an edge over others. Sound delay might be an issue, and those with better headsets will probably have a better experience on Stadia. This is why it would be a great idea for gamers to start looking at wireless gaming headset reviews and find wireless headsets that offer maximum speed and compatibility.

Stadia is More of a Treat to Consoles than PCs
If we were to take one thing from Google’s presentation, it would be that they seemed to be using console gaming language, which makes us think that is the crowd they’re trying to speak too. Being able to pick up a game of Assassins Creed on the go from anywhere seems to be something console gamers would appreciate, while PC gamers have no problem being stationary. Many of the games that were announced also seemed to be aimed at console players. This is why Stadia is more likely to take some of console gaming’s market shares than PC, since its appeal is more for casual players than hardcore PC fans.

Many Questions Still Need to be Answered
Stadia is promising, and could end up revolutionizing the gaming industry, but we’re still in the dark about many aspects about the platform. For one, we still don’t know how the pricing will work. We have no idea if there will be an ownership or a subscription model. And this will have an impact not only on users, but on developers as well.

If they don’t get a large enough piece of the pie, and if the price is too high for users, then there will be no incentives for developers to release exclusives for Stadia. Not only that, but Google doesn’t have the luxury of other gaming companies with a solid established library of in-house games that they can roll out any minute. So, they’ll either have to start developing games, or consider acquiring one or a few major studios.

Many people are also not ready to give up ownership and like having their games installed locally. However, there is a whole new generation of digital content consumers that have grown up with a completely different view of ownership thanks to streaming services and Netflix. This demographic could be more interested in the idea of decentralized gaming than others, and this is where Stadia stands a chance at being the most successful.

The other issue is infrastructure. 4K at 60fps for everyone seems like a tall order, and until Google can build the infrastructure to offer the same experience to all, no matter how remote they are or how poor of an area they live in, the platform will only appeal to a very tiny portion of the population.

Conclusion
Stadia is a promising platform, that’s for sure, but until we can see it in action, it will continue to attract skepticism. It could at best help democratize gaming and make it more accessible to everyone, or could do the complete opposite and offer an optimal gaming experience only to a lucky few.

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