Google Stadia and What Does It Mean For Gaming?

In March 2019, Google presented its new product – a cloud gaming service Stadia. It’s an ambitious platform that will enable streamers to broadcast whatever game to any type of device. The potential success of Google Stadia hinges on the library of exclusive games available for gamers and an attractive subscription model. 

“I think we can change the game by bringing together the power and creativity of the entire community, people who love to play games, people who love to watch games, and people who love to build games.” Google Stadia Chief Sundar Pichai.

How Do Streamers Live Without Google Stadia?

The biggest problem every game streamer faces is outdated hardware incapable to install or run the latest powerful games. In order to create a quality stream production, streamers usually use software like OBS to create stream scenes containing the live game and webcam video feeds. The received footage is then broadcast to streaming platforms like Twitch, Mixer or YouTube Gaming. It’s not a secret that almost all popular game streamers use two PCs to stream. On one computer they play games, another is used to show game footage and chat. It is obviously not a cheap thing, but if you want to provide a high-quality stream, having two computers and the powerful software is (or better say, has been) the only option. Until Google Stadia has appeared.

What is Google Stadia? Will It Become a “Gaming Netflix”?

Google Stadia is a newly created cloud service that can become a revolutionary tool for all streamers. Google Stadia will launch in November 2019 in 14 countries, including the US, Canada, and the UK. It will allow game players to install any game via the cloud without the necessity to have powerful hardware on the computer. Google Stadia is expected to be available through the Google Chrome browser, on smartphones, tablets, smart TV and Chromecast. With Stadia, a streamer receives the calculated scenes as a stream which makes it possible to run a game even on a basic device. Stadia supports streaming in HDR at 60 frames per second with 4K resolution. So, in order to use Stadia, one should have any computer device with Google Chrome and a stable Internet connection. 

The name “Stadia” comes from the plural form of “stadium” meaning that this service will be a collection of different entertainment which the viewer can watch or participate in. There were intentions to create similar services before, but not successful. Google Stadia has all chances to conquer the world. Google has multiple data centers all over the world so that most gamers will be geographically close to a data center. 

Introducing Stadia from Google:  

https://www.youtube.com/embed/AffodEEF4ho&ab_channel=Stadia

So, What Benefits Does Stadia Provide?

  • You can play games from any device without downloading them.
  • Stadia means more mobility: you will be able to play from any place.
  • It’s possible to record or stream a gaming session directly to YouTube.
  • A “Crowd Play” feature will let fans of a YouTube streamer to join the game and play with the creator they were just watching. It would be a new level of interaction in gaming. 
  • Stadia can use any HID-class USB controller, moreover, Google itself has elaborated its own controller fitted out with the Google Assistant enabling users to quickly search for relevant YouTube videos related to the current game.
  • Google Stadia service offers Premium Quality Game-pad with a Google Assistant button available on it for more comfortable gameplay.

What Games Will Be Available With Google Stadia?

So far, Google Stadia has made contracts with 21 game publishers and announced the list of confirmed games, including:

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Borderlands 3
  • Baldur's Gate 3
  • The Crew 2
  • Darksiders Genesis
  • Destiny 2
  • Doom
  • Doom Eternal
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
  • Farming Simulator 19
  • Final Fantasy 15
  • Football Manager
  • Get Packed
  • GRID
  • Gylt
  • Just Dance
  • Metro Exodus
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • NBA 2K
  • Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
  • Rage 2
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Samurai Showdown
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
  • Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
  • Thumper
  • Trials Rising
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Moreover, Google Stadia along with its partner Ubisoft will create first-party games specifically for Stadia. 

Will Google Stadia Be Free? 

At the moment, Google Stadia has announced two tariff plans. If you want to try the service, a free Base plan will be a good option. With a Base plan, you can play games at 1080p/60fps. If you decide that you want more features available, you will be able to buy a monthly subscription and update your account for Pro Level. The exact fee hasn’t been revealed yet. A paid subscription is not similar to Netflix, it’s more like PlayStation Plus that goes with some free games and features such as support for  4K/HDR streaming, 5.1 sounds, and exclusive discounts.

How Can Google Stadia Impact Twitch Users? 

The appearance of Google Stadia means that more users will be able to play and stream games on low-end computers. With the further development of Stadia, the whole video encoding process could transfer to the cloud. A cloud version of OBS could be created, meaning that streamers would stream their webcams’ feeds directly to the cloud without the need of any other setups and additional tools. 

There are several possible scenarios of Google Stadia development. The most desirable one is if Google Stadia would make its content available to third-party developers and allow streamers to do whatever they want with the video stream. Another path, less desirable for Twitch, is if Google would decide to make all Stadia features available exclusively for YouTube platform. This scenario is very likely to become truth and would probably create advantages that Twitch couldn’t compete with in the nearest future. In this context, we see that Google’s decision to quit YouTube Gaming doesn’t sound like a defeat anymore. Due to Google Stadia integration, YouTube will able to strengthen its position and change the way people play, watch and stream games.

Takeaways

The news about Google Stadia has become an alarm for many game content creators and game developers. Though there are many unknown variables, it’s obvious that Google Stadia will change the gaming landscape and balance of power.

8/12/2019