Google’s new product is capable of changing the consumption model of computer toys, but so far the service has more disadvantages than advantages.
Google Stadia Promising market
The launch of its own gaming platform was announced by Google in March this year at a conference for game developers. It took exactly eight months to implement the company’s ambitious plan: on November 19, Google Stadia, a cloud gaming service, went live. The idea is simple: users can play any game for any platform on any device. All that is needed is a high-speed network connection and the Google Chrome browser. Stadia can be accessed using a computer (including a Chromebook), mobile phone or tablet. The performance of the device is not important – all calculations are done in the Google cloud, the main thing is that there is a fast Internet connection. To broadcast a picture in HD quality, its speed must be at least 10 Mbit / s, for games in FullHD, 20 Mbit / s will be required, and for 4K – 35 Mbit / s. The consumer costs $ 10 to sign up for Google Stadia. You will also have to spend another $ 70 on the games themselves, and on a branded gamepad (controller). At the first stage, Google Stadia is not yet available in Russia. The service works in the USA, Canada and some European countries, and the game library has only 22 games, although there are some very popular ones among them: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Metro Exodus, Final Fantasy XV, Red Dead Redemption 2, Football Manager 2020 and others. The absence of Stadia in our country is understandable: a very small market volume. For example, the streaming service Steam collects only 5% of the revenue in the Russian-speaking environment, while the countries of Western Europe and North America account for 63%.
Until now, Google has had a very indirect relationship to games. The company only sold them on its Google Play app store. The search engine’s desire to expand its presence in this segment is understandable. The gaming market is growing from year to year, and there is nothing to indicate that growth will stop or even slow down. By 2020, the volume of the global games market will reach $ 90 billion (according to other estimates, it could reach the entire $ 130 billion), the online gaming segment in 2019 should collect $ 33.6 billion . Other indicators of online gaming are also quite impressive. In the US alone, there were over 55 million gamers using consoles in 2016 , and the traffic they generated was 915 petabytes per month.
Google is invading a very large and competitive market. Players such as Steam (owned by Valve) and Twitch (a subsidiary of Amazon) already operate on it. Both platforms have been around for a long time (since 2003 and 2011, respectively) and are very popular in the gaming community. Stadia’s debut attracted little positive feedback. Moreover, in the assessments of the service, there are even expressions such as “monumental failure”. The press also notes the technical problems that Google encountered when launching the service (response delays, poorly developed interface, lack of declared functions), and a frank discrepancy between the actual and declared resource intensity of Stadia. Finally , Google’s uneasy relationship with game developers surfaced , which could be critical to the service. For example, in the segment of game consoles, the success or failure of each of them largely depends on the agreements with game publishers about their release on a particular platform.
Communications specialist of the Russian representative office of MSI (one of the world’s leading manufacturers of gaming PCs and peripherals) Vasily Makrov notes that “such services are highly dependent on reliable telecommunications, investments in the necessary equipment both from the service side and from the Internet providers. and the availability of the Internet itself. ” He believes that the launch of Google Stadia is very interesting “as a proof-of-concept in local places”, but for such services the stability of the mobile Internet is very important, the quality of which should not be inferior to wired, which is often unattainable for many users. For these reasons, according to Makrova, the emergence of Google Stadia will have little impact on the market for gaming computers and consoles. The owner and presenter of the YouTube channel Rock and Play Alexander Mankov believes that the launch of Stadia demonstrated the technical unavailability of the infrastructure for such projects: ) cloud gaming ”. Until Google engineers solve the problem of slow response rates, and telecom operators do not increase data transfer rates several times, Stadia will only be able to attract subscribers from among casual players, for whom this service will save money on buying a console.
However, data transfer rates are steadily growing, and Google Stadia is by no means the only attempt to cash in on online gaming content distribution. Such services are also being developed by such (much better known in the gaming environment) players as NVidia and AMD. Moreover, Samsung is also entering this market, announcing the launch of its own gaming service PlayGalaxy Link on November 27. To use it, users will simply need to install a special mobile application, and a smartphone will be used as a gaming terminal. It is important for Google to be among the pioneers of this market, and sooner or later there will be solutions to technological problems.