Google officially announced their entry into gaming with Stadia, their streaming service. No console, just Google Chrome, Play, Chromecast, or any other device that can connect to Google’s data centers. The games will stream directly to your hardware, so high-end games will be playable on low-end hardware, even phones and the like. They are also releasing a controller that connects to wifi and lets users play Stadia games with no other hardware besides the controller and a screen.
Stadia didn’t address many important topics, such as what games would be available for it, how it would handle lag, or how people with data caps would be able to run it for longer than ten minutes. They did show off pretty water, automate art design for no reason, and say that Doom Eternal would be releasing on it, which is. Something.
Stadia also has a ton of Youtube integration. There’s a mic built into the controller, so if you’re stuck, you can ask for help and Stadia can pull up a video describing the problem. This sounds neat at first, but knowing Google/Youtube, you’ll probably get sent to PewDiePie and you’ll get a lovely reminder that white supremacy is alive and thriving. You can also jump into a streamer’s multiplayer game, so you too can get called slurs live on air!
Overall this is a bad move for games. All-digital games already made archival difficult, but now that these releases will be completely stream-based, there will be no way to save these games if/when Google shuts Stadia down in a year. This showcase gave me a headache and made me actually glad I can just buy a disk at the store and play it when my Internet goes out.
Stadia launches in 2019, will most likely close by 2020.