Do you think the Google console Stadia will be a success?

Jun 22, 2019
Q: "Do you think the Google console Stadia will be a success?"

Well, a couple of things comes to the mind about Stadia after its announcement.

First, for whom it is, who is a target market? By watching a Google's presentation, my guess is: people with Macs and Linux PCs who want to play games which are not available on their platforms, people with low specs PC who want to play games at higher specs and new games, mobile phone users who want to play some PC/console games but not that much to buy PC / console itself, in shortly, consumers who either can't afford gaming as hobby (buying a new console/PC) or was never interested in it in the first place. Casuals, basically.

Which lead to the second question, games library. Which games exactly will be available to play on Stadia? Let's touch the most obvious ones first, Sony's exclusives. You see, the whole point of buying a PS (or new PS5) is to play games which are only available on PS platform. Putting its exclusives on Stadia is not shoot in the foot for Sony, its a shoot in the head. It's not just about one exclusive game, it's about bringing a player into Sony's ecosystem on which Sony is focusing currently. Nintendo is on the same path here while Microsoft killed Xbox exclusives with "Win10 exclusive" approach. Other big publishers have their own stores. But this is not only about from which store you will be buying a game, point here is that no matter from which store you bought a game, you would be playing on publisher/developers infrastructure which allows them to collect data about players and use it for its own benefit (update games based on what players are doing and not doing, develop new games based on inputs from previous game and so on). And this is what it is about. Google is about data, that's what its business, in what they are only interested in, Google don't care about games, it never did, but it cares about 2B+ people who play games and data which it can collect about them. That's what Stadia is in its core and that's what all big publishers and developers would need to give up. Stadia is Amazon of the gaming world, a customer who buys from you on Amazon, is never your customer, it belongs to the Amazon and you are playing by Amazon rules, no other way around. Now, what about indie developers? For them, it should be more about the exposure than about immediate financial gains even at the price of giving up the data.

Yes, it could be that but how exactly pricing will work on Stadia, both for customer and developer? There was not a word about it from Google but we can speculate. Will we buy a game or rent it or it will a subscription based? If it's buying, only who benefit from it are people without consoles and gaming worthy PCs. If its renting, multiplayer and game-as-service model games could become extremely expensive over a period of time and subscription-based would kill initial sales of the new games, so we can expect to see only older gamer there. There is one more model to consider (information about it comes from Ubisoft CEO based on their collaboration with Google on Stream project) and its pay by time consumption, something like time tokens. That could be a killer for indie studios (since indie games are time short or people give up after a short period of time). It seems that there is not one way which can make everyone happy on either side.

Lastly, Google doesn't have a good track record when it comes to the hardware and even in the cloud computing space (MS and AWS dominating). For streaming gaming (especially 4K quality) a very very good internet infrastructure is required which is not at that level for the majority of Intenet users. Yes, your Intenet speed is good for FB, IG, and Netflix but for gaming, you need to double or quadruple it.

Every time when there is new hardware announced, aside from what is announced, I am always listening more for what it's not. People don't care about terabits speed and this and that specs (after all, Xbox X is the most powerful console on the market, yet it's not either best selling or most popular one) but about the content. That's why people bought PS and Switch and subscribe to Netflix and Amazon.

We heard a lot of corporate lingo without really saying much and for me, Stadia sound like a solution not for the gamers but for people who don't play games to start doing it.