Google Stadia will support Chrome browser, which is shipped by default on almost all Android phones. But is that enough for Google to be successful?
Google made a major announcement at the Games Developers Conference 2019 (GDC) by introducing its venture into the gaming industry. Nearly in line with what the speculations had been, Google launched Stadia, its new cloud-based gaming platform that relies on Chrome OS and Google servers to process memory-intensive files. Not only Google Stadia runs on the cloud infrastructure, but it also lets players switch as many eligible devices as they can, besides allowing them to resume the game from where they left.
At GDC 2019, Google CEO Sundar Pichai took the centre-stage to tell how the video gaming industry is transitioning into becoming data-reliant that minimises the need for hardware. In an indirect manner, Pichai took a jibe at Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo that have created a unanimous empire for console-based gaming. Shares of Sony Corp and Nintendo Co. tanked after Google announced the new gaming service.
Pichai said video games are becoming streamable, much like movies and music, which is where Stadia comes in. But it is not something that is first-of-a-kind – Sony and Nvidia already offer game streaming; Amazon is working on its own platform (besides Twitch that already owns); Microsoft is developing xCloud game streaming service. As Google said, “The future of gaming is not a box.”
But while Google Stadia is cloud-based, it will need a device to operate on. Google is initially foraying with Chromebooks, Pixel phones, Chrome browser-running machines, and Chromecast-supported devices. Google has also launched the Stadia Controller, which is a cloud-based Wi-Fi controller that will power Google’s gaming platform, although the conventional wired-controllers will work with as much effect.
YouTube will be a crucial component of Google Stadia. Under the long-anticipated Project Stream, YouTube will be the platform Google will offer for streaming live gameplay, in addition to a ‘Play Now’ button to let viewers instantly jump into playing the game. The Stadia users can capture, share, and highlight their progress from a game directly to YouTube. India is one of the few countries that have a massive YouTube user base, which could help Google in getting the players for Stadia. However, it will have its own share of complications, for example, the unavailability of the devices that, although, can play videos from YouTube but will fall short of enough prowess for full-fledged gaming.
Google said it will leverage the data centres so that the requirement for high latency can be minimised, thereby offering video game streaming of up to 4K 60fps at 25Mbps Internet connection. In India, Google Stadia may hit a roadblock due to low penetration of broadband Internet services, however, the mobile 4G network could be something Google may mull for the Indian market.
The gaming industry is poised to catapult to generate annual revenue of nearly Rs 11,880 crores by 2023, as per KPMG report. However, a large portion of the gaming realm in India is still dominated by mobile games, which will be worth $1.1 billion by 2020. Google may be targeting the bigwigs that have nurtured the gaming industry with mostly the hardware-backed games but it is doubling down on its data about the mobile phone gamers.
Google Stadia will support Chrome browser, which is shipped by default on almost all Android phones. This is where the video gaming industry in India could see a jump in numbers. The fluidity in the selection of gaming devices is what could make Google successful in India, even if it’s a far cry from the current game streaming industry here.
While Stadia is ready to play games such as Odyssey and Doom Eternal, Google has not said anything on the pricing and when the service will officially be released into the markets. But the US, the UK, Europe, and Canada will get it first.