Over the last half a year there has been a lot of talks of Google Stadia and how it brings reality to an all-digital future. Google Stadia is not the first of its kind in the gaming industry and most likely will not be the last. There are a lot of gaming organizations starting to push digital game downloads and streaming. Microsoft has its GamePass service which I have tried and it’s a great game streaming service with a large new as well as Xbox legacy library. Nvidia has Geforce Now which I had on my Nvidia Shield but it ran kind of crapy on my internet connection and is one of my concerns for Google Stadia. Last but not least there is the OG Digital download service Steam from the valve which I have used this service for PC game downloads and it overall is a great service. Now Google Stadia is the new Steaming service on the block and Google is making a ton of promises. Let’s take a look at “WHAT IS A GOOGLE STADIA?” and what it means for the future of gaming.
What Is A Google Stadia?
No that’s not a typo and I realize that’s not proper grammar but this is the question that popped in my head when I first heard the Google Stadia name and I feel I’m not the only one to ask themselves “What is a Google Stadia?”. Well, in a nutshell, it’s Google’s new online gaming streaming service which promises to be the fastest, more reliable than the competition and the most versatile gaming service out there. The Google Stadia streaming service can be used over multiple platforms that have browser support such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even a Google Stadia so if your playing on your pc you can pick the game up on your cell phone when you venture into the outside world.
One of the major benefits of having Google Stadia is the service doesn’t need the latest hardware to play some of the latest hardware intensive games and that is a plus for some of us gamers who just can’t afford a high-end gaming PC or top of the line new-gen console. However, there has to be some catch, there has to be some sort of requirements or limitations that will keep some gamers from experiencing the Google Stadia service, right?
Google Stadia Specs
As we seen the gamer doesn’t need a high-performance PC or console but there are still some requirements that the user must meet to experience the Stadia service and one is obviously an internet connection. Google Stadia runs off the cloud(google’s servers) so natural you would assume you need a good internet connection and you would be right. Stadia resolution ranges from 4k to 720p to match your network speed and works across various connections from 35 Mbps down to a recommended minimum of 10 Mbps. According to google’s diagram at 10 Mbps, you will get 720p at 60 FPS stereo, 20 Mbps connection will get you 1080p at 60 FPS 5.1 Surround and 4K HDR Video at 60 FPS 5.1 Surround Sound with a 35 Mbps connection. You can run an internet connection test over at Stadia Website if needed and I did just that to find that I am running a 11.162 Mbps so I will be ok for the 720p. However, in my experience trying to stream Tomb Raider over the Nvidia Gforce Now on my current internet connect I had a lot of disconnects and artifacting. Now Google claims their Stadia service is optimized and promises to run better than other streaming services out there but we shall see.
What’s Within the Box?
Within the founder’s Edition box which you can pre-order now is the Night Blue Stadia Controller, USB-C to A Cable, Power Adapter, Google Chromecast Ultra (black) and Power adapter with integrated cable.
The Founder’s Edition can be Pre-ordered for $129 and Google is giving away three months of Stadia Service.
Let’s Talk About the Google Stadia Controller!
Overall I like the Google Stadia Controller, it has taken cues from not only the Xbox controller design but also the PlayStation 4 controller and some of our Chinese manufacturers out there such as the GameSir 3GS. The controller has the analogs positioned where the PlayStation 4 controller does and the L2 and R2 are extended out like the PS4 controller as well which I’m not a big fan of. Every time I lay my PlayStation Controller down on it’s back it always happens to press the two trigger buttons in the back and maybe that just happens to me but it is quite annoying. Let’s take about that D-pad, what were they thinking it reminds me of the D-pad on the GB Boy Color that Gameboy Color clone I did a review of on the We Deem Channel and I hated it on there now it’s on the Google Stadia Controller.
The Issues with Google Stadia and Why I’m Out!
Well, what are the issues with Google Stadia or should I say what are the issues for me when it comes to Google Stadia and why more than likely it will not work for me? Since Google Stadia streams from Google’s servers all that high-end gaming data will be downloading and sucking up all your bandwidth on your phone or home network. As we discuss Google Stadia at 4k gaming uses 35 Mbps of data per second which is equals about 15.75GB per hour and at the 10 Mbps which is Google’s recommended minimum speed/quality is will use about 4.5GB.
Now if your internet has a data cap which most will, you might not even be aware that you are already using a big chunk of it watching Netflix, Hulu or youtube and don’t forget any downloads that you might do during the month. Let’s say you’re using about 800GB of data of a data cap of 1TB that would leave 200GB for Google Stadia and time-wise you’re looking at about 13 hours of game time a month. Even if your cell phone provider or home ISP states you have unlimited we all know it is not unlimited at the speed you pay for and after you hit the cap your internet will run at a slower speed. If your a user running at the minimum 10Mbps, hit your internets cap you have now dipped under and Google Stadia will potentially be unplayable. There are plenty of other factors that go into how Google Stadia will run such as are your wire in or running off the wifi, how far away from the servers you are and how good the routers or switches in your area are. All this will determine how Google Stadia will run and how much lag you will experience.
The last thing I want to talk about is there being a monthly fee and still having to purchase the games instead of it being one monthly fee to access the Google Stadia Library. Now Google is offering three months free I guess to entice people to try the service and this might be good for the start of the service. Most streaming services you pay for the service and have access to all its content but thats, not the case here. Now image your pay full price for the game, google and the developers decide the game will no longer be offered on the Google Stadia service do you now lose a game you paid for? This is the very thought that leads to the second topic of this post and that is an all-digital future.
An All-Digital Future
As we all know there has been plenty of discussions of late on the future of video games and the possibility of an all-digital future or better know as the death of physical media. Now it has happened yet but let be real it’s not a possibility it will be a reality and companies are starting to push the idea i.e. Google Stadia. If you remember correctly Microsoft just recently released the Xbox One S All Digital Edition which obviously had no hard drive and promoted the All Digital Future. In 2018 a record 83% of games were sold digital and only 17% were physical which means physical is going out the door :(.
For a detailed breakdown of how physical games sales have shifted toward digital check out the article ” Breakdown of U.S. computer and video game sales from 2009 to 2017, by delivery format ” on Statista.
The Issues for me with an All-Digital Future!
For some, an All-Digital Future doesn’t seem that bad and most of going that route anyway. There are many gamers especially some of the younger gamers that just want to play the game and don’t care about owning it physically. Being able to download the game first day of release and not have to wait in line to purchase the game or wait for it to be delivered is appealing to most. However, if you are subscribed to the We Deem Channel you are well aware that I enjoy the retro gaming community and collecting physical media. I grew up with the NES, SNES, GENESIS, N64, Saturn, Dreamcast, PlayStation, Xbox, and the list goes on. I love collecting video games for all these systems because it brings me back to a time where I believe new video games and the thought of a new console was exciting. There is something about having a physical copy of a game in my collection, being able to pull it from a shelf, place the cartridge into a console and just play the game. An all-digital future attacks that way of life but this isn’t the only issue with digital game downloads and no more physicals.
Once we move into the All-Digital future let’s not forget the risk of the game being removed from digital services like Steam, Xbox Store or the Playstation store and if you didn’t get to download it you will never get to experience those games again. We have seen this happen over and over again in the last few years. Let’s take Scott Pilgram Vs. the World a game I never had the pleasure of playing and now I will never experience the hype because it was taken down. Ducktales remastered which is a game that came out physically but is getting harder and harder to find not to mention the prices have been rising was taken down as well. This is the harsh reality of an all-digital future, one moment that game is there and the next it could cease to exist. Keep Google Stadia in mind when you think of all-digital because this is a digital gaming streaming service which you pay for the individual game but if it is taken down you know have now lost your money as well as the game.
Google Stadia is a great concept and even as a collector of physical media it is a service I could enjoy if I knew it was going to run well on my internet connection. Unfortunately, there are many variables that could potentially make Stadia unplayable or a service that is limiting. I don’t want to be limited to how long I can play a certain game. If my connection isn’t up to the standards that Stadia requires I don’t want to deal with lag or artifacting when I won’t experience that from a physical or even a download game for the matter. I also don’t want an internet connection that has gone down to keep me from enjoying a good gaming session or it interrupting me in the middle of a hard boss fight. As far as an all-digital future is concern I personally am not looking forward to it because there are so many cons for me. I have several storage bins of physical video games that are sealed, games I haven’t played yet but they are there and at any moment I can play them if I want. There is no fear that the game will no longer be available or I will lose the opportunity to experience them because they a sitting there waiting for me. There is no rush to purchase physical games because there will always be an opportunity, for the most part, to purchase it down the road and I don’t feel rushed into the purchase because the games might disappear like Scott Pilgrim. Personally, an all-digital future just scares me and makes the future look dull.
Let me know below what your think of Google Stadia? Is it something your looking forward to? Are you on the fense? Are your ready for an All-Digital Future? You you purchase physical or digital games more?