Updated: Oct 6
Today Google took to 2019's Game Developers Conference to announce it's latest innovation Stadia. A dope ass name with a pretty graffiti logo. As I watched this key note I found myself excited. Excited for what Google was demonstrating. Game play that was instantaneous. Game play that transfers with no effort from phone to Pixelbook to a TV via Chromecast. However, then I remembered Inbox, G+, and so many other projects Google started and let die. Now one cold argue that the reason those no longer exist was to make room for this. But I realized I needed to take this presentation with a grain of salt and temper my enthusiasm, because there was a lot to be excited for.
Google lead the keynote with the concept of how it all works. Stating that from YouTube ads, could come instant consumption. Imagine you're watching an ad for a game on YouTube, deciding that you'd like to play that game, and being able to hit a button that says “play now” and jump right into the game yourself. No downloads, no wait time, no commitment. In theory this sounds truly next level and if they can live up to this promise, Google will truly change the way we game.
The concept here is cloud streaming. Something that has been touted before by the likes of Microsoft, but never truly done right. However Google has the tech and the know how to get it done. By utilizing its global infrastructure of data centers they can pretty much ensure servers are as close to players around the world as possible. All while utilizing the device and internet you have. Making Google the back bone of your Stadia gaming experience. All this equates to true power. Power back in the hands of Developers and in the hands of gamers.
Google also states it will support 4K games at 60fps with HDR. *MIND BLOWN* However, they didn't stop there. Being the ever future forward company that they are. Google states that in the future, Stadia will support games up to 8K resolution. I didn't even know 8k was a thing conceptualized yet. What does that even look like? Either way, it's all sounding very promising.
How you play seemed to be a big deal for Google Stadia as well. Showing that they're truly thinking of gamers. So while your existing USB controllers will work on a laptop or PC. Google also show cased a Stadia Controller that will best assist you during your game time. Best thing is, it appears to link to the game not the device. So through Wi-Fi, once you link it to a game session via the cloud. you can play with one controller seamlessly through multiple devices. They even took slight cues from X-Box and will allow you to use a button to capture and share clips straight to YouTube. And because it's Google you know there's a Google Assistant button. And I have to admit the controller looked pretty solid and in many ways reminded me of an actual XBO controller.
Now to say they hit it out of the park with this presentation would be an overstatement. It was a lot of what could be or will be and not a lot of what it. So we didn't get any real major game titles announced for the system. And that's what's going to help this platform gain ground. Google needs game developers to create for Stadia. Now id Software was out there saying “Doom Eternal” is coming to Stadia. As well as another developer, whom show cased its game “Rime”. But this isn't enough to get gamers excited. Us knowing that more than 100 studios have development hardware, means nothing to us if they don't use it right...or at all. The thing that concerns me most is that this will be another forgotten project from Google. Especially is they cant get publishers to bring the big guns to their platform.
Now it doesn't hurt that Google is creating its own game studio for "Stadia-exclusive" titles, called Stadia Games and Entertainment. Cool news is however, that Jade Raymond, is leading Google’s push for its own games. And #ICYMI Jade is a gaming industry veteran who has previously worked for the likes of Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and even Sony. So there is a huge chance for potential out of this Stadia Studio.
Another concern of mine is that though they told us about the what, the how, and hell even the why. Then never detailed the how much or how many, or even the when. 2019 is pretty broad and where still in the beginning of the year. And not giving us a price is worrisome. Also how many game titles do they have in the chamber and will this work like Hulu or Netflix? Or more akin to Xbox Game Pass or Stream. There is a lot to be excited for, but just as much to be hesitant about. I guess we'll just have to wait till summer, where they've promised to have more deets for us. And at the end of the day, honestly, I can't wait.