Google Stadia is Really Freaking Cool, and Also Kinda Sad

On Tuesday, tech giant Google held a press conference at GDC, where they unveiled their new gaming platform named Stadia. Stadia differs from it’s competition in that there is no set top box needed to play video games. Instead Stadia beams a video stream of the game via the internet to the person playing it. Google claims that they’ve created a seamless, low latency streaming service in Stadia, and that it is no different from playing a video game on local hardware. If Google is to be believed, and it does indeed work as intended, this could be the beginning of an exciting new future of gaming.

Firstly, there are no barriers of entry as far as the platform itself goes; so long as you have Google Chrome and the internet bandwidth needed, you can use the service without spending a penny on a console. Secondly, the ability to seamlessly and instantly pick up where you left off on any device is incredible and truly revolutionary if it will work as demoed. Thirdly, the games are being run on powerful Google datacenter servers, which in theory will give game developers the ability to make more expansive and immersive games. This is perhaps to most exciting feature to me, as this creates the potential for the development of games that have never been possible before due to hardware limitations.

For all my excitement, however, I can’t help but also feel a bit apprehensive. With this new era of gaming, ownership of games essentially dies. Google hasn’t yet shared it’s pricing model for Stadia, so it’s unclear if it will be subscription based or if players can buy individual games at full retail price. Regardless, you will never own the games you play. There are multiple scenarios in which you would have no access to your games, including issues with your Internet service or Stadia itself having issues. Also, it’s entirely possible Stadia doesn’t meet Google’s expectations so they just shut it down all together.

I understand that the issue really doesn’t matter to most players, as the end experience is the same whether a game is running locally or being streamed. But it honestly just makes me sad that we are starting down a path where physical games are becoming obsolete. There is not only a certain nostalgia to having physical games, but also the value of actually owning a game, and being in control of when it can be played. I’ve been reluctant for many years to make the switch to digital games, and have continued buying physical copies long past most of my friends decided to just download them. But Stadia could possibly be the tipping point for me if it proves itself to be a major player in the market. It’s time to move on into this new era I think, even if it does bum me out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s