Google Stadia: A Glimpse of the Future
By Sairam Hussain Miran 01 Sep, 19
Google has set foot in a booming industry dominated by two thriving corporate giants, and it faces the massive challenge of uprooting the traditions of gaming that is set down decades back by these very giants. Stadia is not a gaming console, and in the long term, intends to eliminate the need of one.
What is Stadia?
Google Stadia is a cloud gaming service that enables gamers to stream games at 4K, 60 frames per second. It does so with the help of Google’s large data centers spread out throughout the world, in 200 countries to be precise. The service will be accessible by Google Chrome browser, Smart TVs, Tablets, Chromecast and even Smartphones. The only piece of hardware Google has put forward is a controller. Imagine all your gaming experience fit into one controller; and not having to pack a heavy console but just an aesthetic controller for your next trip. That’s Stadia.
The platform will support 4K and 60 frames per second, it is built on the Linux Server and is rocking Vulkan as the graphics API. Moreover, an impressive 5.1 surround sound is also promised. To accomplish the uphill task of true lag free gaming, Google has also brought on AMD to create a special GPU for its data centers; these chips will deliver a whopping 10.7 teraflops of power! That’s more powerful than the PS5’s speculated 9.2 teraflops of computing speed. Add to that SSD storage and 16 gigabytes of RAM between the CPU and the GPU.
Google has also promised 8K and 120fps for later, something the Xbox Scarlett has been eyeing for already.
Pricing and Release Date
Releasing in November 2019, the Stadia is primarily a subscription based service, there is a base free service and a subscription package costing £8.99 ($10) a month which includes access to a number of titles, and it will include a rotation of free games like Xbox Live or PS+.
The first free game would be Destiny 2. Unlike Netflix, users will still have to pay for games not included in the package. Moreover, the controller costs $69
Although the mentioned numbers are impressive, the Stadia still requires users to have very high internet speed to truly cherish the gaming experience; Stadia will require at least 10 Mbps for 720p 60 FPS Stereo, 20 Mbps for 1080p HDRV 60 FPS 5.1 surround, and a high 35mbps for 4K HDR Video 60 FPS 5.1 Surround. To enjoy your gaming to the fullest, you need at least 35mbps internet.
That does not fare well in 2019, where most countries are still stuck in low internet speeds and gamers do not even need internet to play some of the best titles on their good old consoles.
Moreover, the Stadia will only be available in only 14 countries at the time of its release. This mostly has to do with internet speeds and sustainability still being an issue in developing countries.
Is Cloud the future?
To conclude, the Stadia will certainly not be beating Microsoft and Sony at such an early stage in their own game; with the limited selection of games to choose from, internet speed limitations and the infamous issue of lag; cloud gaming just does not compete with your convenient consoles or PCs… yet.
However, Google has made it crystal clear that they will be leading this industry towards a different path than the one that has been followed for decades; and with the arrival of 5G and internet booms in developing countries, the future looks bright for cloud based game streaming.
Intelligently enough, the name Stadia is a term used for ‘stadium’, Google is implying that the future of gaming is not a box (console), but a place (cloud).
Gamers, your consoles are here to stay for now, but there might come a time when your kids ask you, “What’s that big black box collecting dust under the TV?”