Don’t get too excited about Google Stadia yet
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Ever since Steve Jobs made an epic presentation of Apple Macintosh computer in 1984, the technology leaders try to mimic it, saying things like “we are changing the rules of the game,” and “this is the best solution you can find.” What this style of presentation always comfortably avoids is the drawbacks and negative effects of the new product.
Let’s look at some apperent problems Stadia has and which Google never even began addressing.
According to Google officials, Stadia will support 1080p/60fps gaming. To facilitate this, your internet must support stable 5-10 Mbps, and not many people have access to that. Forget about Stadia, if you have metered connection, you will be maxed out in a matter of hours.
Most players will have something like 720p/30 fps, and it would be only fair to mention it during the presentation.
During the presentation, Google executives mentioned multiple times that Stadia will be able to facilitate 1000 and more players in a Battle Royale game. What they didn’t mention is how insanely uncomfortable it will be to play an FPS BR game with over 200+ ms ping.
Early tests show that Google Stadia has 166ms ping on average, but that test doesn’t account for various factors, such as starting several Stadia instances in local area network, using Wi-Fi instead of cable connection and so on. Anyone who tried to use Steam Streaming or Moonlight knows how many pitfalls there are even when while a game from another room. Trying to stream a game from far-far away through multiple network nodes you don’t have any control over can be a nightmare.
By the way, if ping is a massive factor in a game, forget about playing with 3G, even on a lower resolution.
Google is dumping obscene amounts of money into setting up Stadia, and the company surely wants to monetize the service. The fact that the company never mentioned pricing during the presentation rings lots of alarm bells.
They didn’t even mention what model will be used. A subscription fee, or will users need to pay for separate games only? Will there be a cheaper option for 720p/30fps? Do I need to pay to be able to stream my gameplay on YouTube?
PlayStation Now lets players stream PS2, PS3, and PS4 games for $20 a month, but Google can’t afford to make Stadia that expensive because they don’t have an impressive games list in its library.