Google’s upcoming video game streaming service Stadia aims to eliminate the middleman by letting you play games in 4K and 60 fps on almost any device as long as you have a decent internet connection (and are in the US, Canada, the UK or Europe). While this sounds pretty incredible on paper, it leaves us with a ton of questions.
I sat down with Kotaku’s Ethan Gach to talk about the things we find promising about this new service and the things that concern us about the future of streaming.
Watch the video to hear our thoughts, or read a short excerpt here:
Paul: Google is claiming that you can play games at 4K at 60 fps using a 30 Mbps connection, which I guess might be standard for some people but not taking into account people who have data caps or throttled internet connections.
If The Great British Baking Show cuts off and starts buffering, I start to get frustrated, and it’s nobody’s fault but my ISP’s. So I’m curious how their claims will hold up when it comes out.
Ethan: I’m someone who uses their Vita for remote play on the PS4 a lot, especially in a game like Destiny or Anthem where I’m just grinding out an activity that doesn’t require that much thought or precision while I’m watching TV with my partner.
I think one of the things that was disingenuous about the presentation was when they had all of these devices lined up, and the idea was, “Look, you can go seamlessly between all of these devices, maintaining your point in the game that you’re playing.”
This doesn’t feel like some transformative way to play all of your games so much as another tool or option for how to enjoy them in the same way that remote play, cross-buy and cloud saves make the experience more seamless. This feels like another avenue to do these things but not the holy grail of doing all of it.
Paul: Maybe this is enticing for people out there who have not upgraded to a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X or who don’t have a gaming PC. They’re like, “Oh yeah, maybe I’ll get back into gaming by opening up a new Google Chrome Tab and jumping into Doom Eternal.”
Ethan: That’s why I think the price is so important, and they haven’t talked about it yet.
There was a point in the presentation where they showed, on the screen behind Phill Harrison, a mock-up of a Stadia app on the Google Play store, which makes it seem like there’s going to be a marketplace within this app where you would, theoretically, buy Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for $US60. They haven’t talked about whether the service, like YouTube, will be free.