If there’s one thing to be said for Google, it’s that the California company has mastered the art of tech innovation. We can’t imagine our lives without Google; so many of the services and products we use daily are Google-based or Google-owned, and we’re big proponents of things like Android Auto and other tech that’s integrated into our lives. It’s safe to say that Google has completely transformed the way we live and work.
With that in mind, it’s not unreasonable to say that the upcoming Google Stadia could well transform the way we game, as well. Once you know Stadia’s spec sheet and what it’s going to offer to gamers, it’s difficult to imagine the gaming landscape returning to the way it currently stands. Google may not be the first to offer a streaming gaming service, but they might well be the best. Here are some of the ways Google Stadia could change gaming forever.
It’s totally hardware-free
Okay, so this one actually isn’t technically true – Stadia isn’t hardware-free. It is, however, bespoke hardware-free. Unlike the Xbox or PlayStation – or any of Nintendo’s console offerings – Stadia doesn’t require a specific piece of hardware to enjoy. Instead, you can access Stadia using a number of different devices including computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and your TV. You can get Stadia on Google’s line of Pixel smartphones and tablets, as well as the Chromecast and any device that can run the Chrome browser. This could change gaming forever; who would want to buy a console when they can just use their Chromecast?
It’ll play games in 4K at 60FPS
Xbox One X and PlayStation Pro can both boast the ability to play many games in 4K at 60FPS, but they can’t do it without hardware. Stadia’s totally unique approach means that you’ll be able to access 4K gaming at a smooth, silky frame rate without buying anything extra (apart from perhaps a Stadia Pro subscription). Google says that at some point in the future, Stadia will be compatible with 8K gaming and 120FPS. The service is only going to improve as Google works on it, and it’ll never need you to buy a single piece of external hardware. 4K gaming with no extra cost? We don’t mind if we do.
Unlike PlayStation and Xbox, you won’t have to buy a console to enjoy Stadia (although both systems do now support PC play as well). You technically won’t need to buy any games, either; if you purchase a Stadia Pro subscription, Google will give you free games on the regular, starting with Destiny 2. If you go with Stadia Base, which won’t be released until sometime in 2020, then you’ll only have access to the games you buy via Google’s game store. Stadia is a completely subscription-based gaming service that will also be compatible with various other subscription services. So far, only Ubisoft’s Uplay service has been announced for Stadia, but it’s not hard to imagine companies like EA or Utomik following suit.
The controller is revolutionary
The controller Google has come up with for Stadia is a work of design genius. It’s a beautiful thing, all matte finish and well-positioned buttons. The controller kind of looks like a premium USB controller, which is, we suppose, what it is. Incidentally, Stadia will still be compatible with all your existing USB peripherals, so if you’re wedded to a controller you’ll still be able to use that. However, Stadia’s controller comes complete with two unique buttons. One of them is a Google Assistant button that allows you to use your voice to search while you’re gaming. The other is an instant share button that will stream your gameplay to YouTube while you play. The stream will naturally be in 4K. Sign us up!
The games are impressive
The range of triple-A gaming experiences Google has lined up for Stadia in the coming weeks and months is truly staggering. The system will support offerings from major studios like Square Enix, id Software, and Ubisoft. Whether a gaming service or console is successful is often highly dependent on the quality of the third-party support; this is, in the end, what killed the Wii U. Stadia doesn’t look like it’ll have to worry about that. Games like Metro Exodus, Mortal Kombat 11, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Doom Eternal will all be coming to Stadia. Don’t worry if you’re an indie fan; you’ll still be able to enjoy games like Gylt and Get Packed, both of which are incidentally also Stadia exclusives. With such extensive support, it’s hard not to be excited for Stadia.
It can only improve
Although the foundation Google has built for Stadia is already impressive, the company will doubtless learn from the feedback it gets from Stadia’s community. As such, even though Stadia is already arguably revolutionary, it’s only going to improve and possibly push consoles further towards the scary precipice of obsolescence. Obviously, Stadia isn’t going to make dedicated PlayStation or Xbox fans give up their beloved machines, but if Google is offering 4K gaming at 60FPS on a device you already own, it’s unlikely you’ll fork out for a console. With better visuals, silkier frame rates, and more third-party developer support on the horizon, Stadia looks like it’s going to transform gaming completely.