Google announced Stadia. A cloud-based gaming platform that that allows you to play games on your desktop, laptop, phone, and TV, seamlessly, letting you play continuously as you move between devices.
The promising feature here is: The boundaries of hardware will be eliminated. You won't need to purchase the latest Nvidia GTX graphics card, or get the newest PlayStation console, because all the hardware is being run on Google's servers. It won't matter what device you're running, because all you'll need is, presumably, your Google Chrome browser. With normal TVs, you'll most likely need a Google Chromecast. No other hardware required. Well, there's the Stadia controller.
A few months ago when "Assassin's Creed Odyssey" was launched, a few selected users were allowed to run the game on Google's cloud-based platform. Reactions have been impressive. This demo offers some glimmer of proof that AAA games will be offered on Google's platform. id Software's "Doom Eternal" will also be available in the Stadia.
Google also has plans to integrate the Stadia to YouTube, allowing for YouTubers instant uploads and save gameplay clips. Not much more has been revealed about that. It sounds kind of "twitchy" if you ask me.
The problem is, you will need a fast Internet connection. Sure, 5G is on the horizon, but can you expect the service to hit the country fast enough? And when it does, do you think it's going to start off affordable? And when it is, will it be a national roll out or will it start in key cities first? Lots of questions there.
On top of that, Google didn't mention anything about prices. This leaves us a number of impressions:
1) Subscription Model: You get the typical one month, six-month, and annual subscription plans for an X amount. We're guessing it's going to run around 9.99USD up to 39.99USD. That's me being optimistic but something tells me, it could be a little higher than that.
2) Do you own games or do you rent them? Will there be a number of free games to play while others are locked with more purchases?
3) This is Google we're talking about. And we know their source of wealth. Will Stadia have a free subscription model that is overrun by ads and a more expensive model that takes them out entirely?
4) Sony and Nintendo have always been protective of their hardware. Though there is a chance the former will let up a little, the latter will definitely not. Though they will need to continue to churn out impressive game exclusives - which they have been - for gamers to continue their support.
There's a lot of questions Google has left unanswered.
We're not seeing the end of gaming hardware here. What we're seeing is the accessibility of gaming throughout a wider audience. Those who can't afford a console or a high-powered gaming rig, can subscribe to Stadia. They can even get to choose when to discontinue and renew their subscriptions. It's also an affordable option, even at 50 USD a year - in six years that culminates to a mere 300 USD.
This isn't the first cloud-based gaming platform. Some time ago it was reported in various sites of the Shadow cloud-based gaming. We have rumors that Microsoft is gearing up their own as well. Amazon, being the owner of Twitch streaming platform, is said to be also in the works of something similar.