Google Stadia, the tech titan’s new service that lets you play video games like you stream the TV show Stranger Things from Netflix, launched this week with high hopes — and immediately took flak for having few features, a poor lineup of games and slow response time.
Aside from Sony’s PlayStation Now, which launched in 2014, and other smaller competitors like Nvidia’s GeForce Now, there wasn’t much talk about game streaming until March of this year, when Google announced Stadia.
It’s begun recruiting people from large game companies like Microsoft to help with the launch, as well as hiring for jobs in a "new initiative" within its Amazon Web Services team, which sources said is involved in Amazon’s future gaming service.
For Google, the entry point is Stadia, a streaming service that promises to use the search giant’s vast and nearly worldwide network of powerful computers to stream video games directly to our TVs, computers and phones over the internet.
In October, Sony revamped its 5-year-old PlayStation Now streaming service, offering access to more than 800 games for $9. 99 per month, including its acclaimed action game God of War.
But it has ambitions to do more, including a game streaming service to compete with Google, Microsoft and Sony, though it hasn’t discussed its game streaming service publicly.
And Microsoft has already started public beta testing of its Project xCloud gaming service, which offers 50 games, including its big new sci-fi shooting game Gears 5 and popular Halo games.
Industry insiders believe Amazon’s plans for a future video game service are a foregone conclusion, despite struggles in its game-making studios, which saw layoffs earlier this year.
He noted that while early reviews for Stadia have criticized technical and product issues like speed hiccups and pricing, eventually people will ask what Stadia allows them to do with friends they can’t do through Microsoft’s Xbox Live or Sony’s PlayStation Plus gaming social networks.
Game streaming on any device, including smartphones, offers an opportunity for the tech industry’s largest players to jump into the game world, taking on established heavyweights Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
OnLive started in largely the same way Stadia did, promising video games you can play over the internet, reducing your game hardware to an internet-connected TV and a controller.
But now that it’s launched to mixed reviews, some people are recommending gamers steer clear, even if you can use Stadia for free after buying a game from Google.
The company also offers a subscription service called Xbox Game Pass that gives players access to more than 100 titles, starting at $9. 99 per month.
Instead, these people cite the company’s sprawling $119 per year Prime subscription empire, which already includes music streaming, lauded video projects like The Man in the High Castle, free grocery delivery and more.
"Until Google finds a way to loop in YouTube and develop truly unique competitive large-scale games, Stadia isn’t worth your time yet," CNET Editor Scott Stein wrote in his review.
Google Stadia wants to be the future of gaming. So do Microsoft, Sony and Amazon https://t.co/EtMXIyQFPS— CNET News (@CNETNews) November 20, 2019
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