Google announced a revolutionary product on 19th March in its GDC conference. The product was the holy grail that most companies invested in gaming hoped to achieve – real working cloud gaming. It’s called Google Stadia.
With Google Stadia, you can play the latest Triple A titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on your laptop (or a smartphone) without the need of a dedicated GPU. It doesn’t matter if you have a fanless machine or a computer that is 5 years old, you can play the games you love at frame rates never imagined before.
Google demoed a game called Doom Eternal on stage in the presentation and it ran smoothly on a thin and light laptop as well as a smartphone.
Not as simple as it sounds
This sounds simple to untrained ears. Everything is done in the cloud nowadays – streaming movies, videos, series, songs – so it many not surprise anyone that game-streaming tech has finally arrived. But game-streaming is such a complex problem to solve that most people in the tech industry are skeptical of Google’s claims.
Google says that all of the computing will be done at its data centers which are located all around the world. It may not be news to anyone that Google has the most robust and powerful data centers but if every gamer started using Stadia, I think even Google would have a problem bearing that immense load. But Google has assured us saying that there has been hardware level additions made to the data centers along with improvements “in the encode end of the equation in the data center”. We will have to see if Google lives up to the hype it has created in the coming months.
Pros of Stadia
This concept of cloud gaming has several advantages. One is that you can play your game wherever you are, whenever you want (until you have a solid internet connection), and whatever device you are on without giving much thought to it. No need to fear that your device isn’t powerful enough. If it can stream Netflix, it can play the latest games.
Second is that games are more readily available to you. You don’t have to download every game separately waiting for a day. You can just go to a game in Stadia store (don’t know if they will call it that), click on a game and just play. You don’t even have to worry about running out of storage.
The third benefit is reduced cheating in games. As the game runs on Google’s servers, you’ll have to install a cheat software on Google’s hardware itself.
Cons of Stadia
But that doesn’t mean that this approach to gaming doesn’t have its disadvantages. First is that you won’t be able to enjoy your games if you don’t have a high-speed internet connection. Google’s recommendation is 20mbps to 30mbps stable connection. I don’t know if most people in the world have such type of connection, let alone Nepal.
So, even if you have a good connection at your home, you won’t be able to play your games on the bus or anywhere outside your home. Then there are concerns about Latency. How much will the delay between the input and the output on the screen be? This is an important issue in games like DOTA 2 and fighting games.
So, there is some uncertainty and skepticism shrouding this advanced leap in technology. How successful will this endeavor from Google be? Will it be for gaming what YouTube is for video-streaming and Google is for search? I don’t know. We will get the answers soon after Google releases Stadia for the public.
Right now there are more questions than answers. And we can’t blame anyone about that because Google hasn’t even said how customers are expected to pay for Stadia. Is it a subscription based system? Do we have to pay for each game? As I said, we will know all about it when Google releases Stadia for the public in the coming months.
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