Game Changer: How Google plans to revolutionize the gaming industry
March 29, 2019
The videogame industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with a Global Games Market report claiming that in 2018 that gamers spent almost $140 billion on games alone. This marks a staggering increase of $16 billion from 2017 and is a surefire indicator that this is an industry that will only be moving up.
It is extremely important to note that this number does not take into consideration the vast amount of money generated and spent in fields that spawned from this videogame renaissance; the thousands of channels on YouTube discussing videogames, providing players with video walkthroughs, the podcasts dedicated to the industry and of course the game streaming platform Twitch, which boasts hundreds of millions of views. Twitch is an ideal platform for the gamer who wants to monetize his/her streaming, as it reported that 86% of its users saw a rise in income in 2018. The videogame industry levelled up and is dominating the entertainment industry, with billions in combined revenue.
And Google wants it all.
Presenting, the Stadia.
In a Game Developers Conference in San Fransisco last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai dropped a bombshell. Industry insiders had speculated for some time that Google would enter the ring of gaming but expected the tech giant to unveil a new console, similar to PlayStation or Xbox. Others guessed that the company would capitalize on its online presence and announce the launch of a game selling site like Steam.
The room went absolutely quiet when the Google CEO casually announced that tech giant has opted instead to fundamentally change the industry by launching a game streaming platform that would require no console, no heavily modded gaming PC and no expensive graphics card to play. Every single game will be on the cloud and it will be streamable. No more limitations on graphics and quality; no more exclusive content that is available only on one gaming console but not the others.
In one fell swoop, Google changed the gaming industry forever. Streaming games in the highest possible quality in any device eliminates the need for hardware, changing the core foundation of the industry and opening a host of other options. The new platform’s name? Google Stadia.
The only thing required by users to access Google Stadia is a special controller. Roughly the size of gaming controllers, a Stadia controller can be paired with any device and allow access to the games.
Playing on your big screen TV but have to go to work? No problem! You can continue your game on your mobile while you commute! Want to play with a friend but one of you is on a PC while the other is on a tablet? Google Stadia allows you to do it!
Cross-platform compatibility, a community demand for years, is no longer an issue with the introduction of cloud gaming.
Stadia won’t only focus on streaming games but it will also expand in all related services, such as streaming for fans. Google will set up a platform that will provide similar services with Twitch (allowing players to stream their games to fans for money) and even giving the option of challenging your favourite streamer!
Gaming might be the largest entertainment industry but making games compatible across platforms has always been a major issue for game developers.
Creating a game that cannot be played by everyone is a source of constant frustration among gaming studios, since they are always faced with the same dilemma; make the best possible game at the best possible quality or tone the quality down to accommodate console users and players that cannot afford the latest PC graphics and sound cards?
Revenue beats artistry every time, forcing developers to compromise. By eliminating the hardware arms race and taking all graphics requirements to the cloud, Stadia allows developers to work at their maximum capacity, removing all limitations.
Is it possible?
While Google was light on the technical details, seamless cloud gaming is definitely possible. Gaming companies Sony and Microsoft have already dabbled in cloud gaming with PlayStation Now and Project xCloud (hasn’t launched yet) respectively, but Google promises the stars while the technology has just learned how to walk.
At launch, Google Stadia will stream in 4K quality at 60 FPS (Frames Per Second) with surround sound and HDR (High Dynamic Range) support, and in the future, Google is planning to support 8K resolution and frame-rates upwards of 120 FPS. The streaming requirement is a minimum of 25mbps connection, while 4K streaming will require 30mbps.
But can Google guarantee seamless play, and no input lag a major concern among gamers, especially those playing FPS (First Person Shooters) as well as e-sports professionals? Wouldn’t cross-platform compatibility (at least in terms of gameplay) require developers to spend way too much money on making sure their games are compatible?
Google did not share any specific technical details but assured fans that Stadia will be launching some time within 2019 and that all their questions will be answered.
As gamers ourselves, we closely monitor all developments in the gaming industry, since we believe that it will be an essential part of future digital marketing and personal brand development. After all, staying ahead of the curve at the crucial moment when gaming meets advertising, allows our passionate team of digital experts to combine their passions and turn them into inspired winning strategies.