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Thursday, April 18, 2024

A streaming future will change the way we play and experience entertainment and video games

Google’s Stadia represents a large leap forward for gaming

Netflix. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t have access to it by way of a subscription or a friend’s password. The behemoth streaming platform has revolutionized the way we experience and consume movies and TV. Google wants to change that with video games. Enter Stadia.  

Announced on March 19, Stadia aims to revolutionize the way we play games. Stadia is “a new gaming platform from Google for playing AAA video games across all kinds of screens,”  according to Google. Out are the four-hour downloads; in is access to gaming in seconds. Stadia will save time and money for everyone. Regular consoles often cost around $500 at launch. Stadia (so far) has no upfront price for hardware. It’s simply a cloud-based software, playable wherever.

And when I say wherever, I truly mean wherever. Stadia is playable on laptops, phones, desktops and myriad compatible devices. PlayStation has tried to enable remote play from laptops and phones with PS4 Remote Play, but it simply does not work over mediocre wifi speeds. Having Stadia available on countless platforms can lead to a similar type of success that Fortnite had by being accessible on every possible screen. Now, we don’t know if Stadia will be free as an interface and store for games, but it could share a similar strategy with Fortnite by being widely available.

As the first, first-party launch in the industry since Microsoft launched Xbox in November of 2001, the first rendition of Stadia will be shaky. There’s no doubt about it. That’s just the way first attempts in technology work. But one day, Stadia will signify the future of games. Even in beta, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ran smoothly at 25 mbps — it would be a near miracle if Stadia held that performance at launch.

Stadia will succeed because it has Google at the helm. And what Google has been doing for the last couple of years is important. It has been buying up loads of talent in the industry to create first-party titles that will drive sales for games on Stadia.

Critics of Stadia propose questions like: What happens to the modding community with streaming games? Will lousy internet speeds really hold up for consistent performance? Will Google’s monopoly take over our data in the gaming industry as well? First off: Each of these questions are absolutely valid. Google is a massive corporation that has never been in touch with the gaming industry. Internet speeds in the less populated corners of our country have been holding back gamers from going fully digital for years. Just look at the awful launch of Xbox One. But it’s time.

To all of these concerns, I believe we will have answers.

1. The modding community will be just fine; games like Skyrim have built mods into updates in their games. See: every rendition of Skyrim.

2. Internet speeds will no doubt labor some users in the beginning of the service, but like all technologies, internet speeds will just get better and better. A 25 mbps speed should be capable in all areas.

3. Google cannot monopolize an industry that already has technology behemoths Sony and Microsoft in it, with Nintendo off to the side doing what they always do.

4. We still don’t have all the information yet. Speculation is cool. But hold the criticism until we have all the details.

Youtube and Twitch offer free streaming for experiencing games, but what if you could play those games in the same way? That’s where games are headed. Young gamers right now know that streaming is the future. Microsoft was far ahead of its time in imagining an all-online future at The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013. In the world we live in, many are already consuming all the content they love for free on YouTube (hey, Google) and Twitch (hey, Amazon). Throw in Netflix and HBO Go for the streaming content, and all you need is capable internet to get the job done.

The future of gaming and entertainment is here. Google’s Stadia is the first step into an all digital, all streaming future. Seamless connectivity and ease-of-entry are what the industry has lacked for decades. With the barrier of entry lower than ever, Stadia represents the largest leap forward in gaming since the rise of mobile games.

Written by: Calvin Coffee

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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