Google Stadia Is Here, But There Are Still Huge Issues

Nov 19, 2019, 10:34 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:03 pm
Stadia, Google's new cloud gaming service, officially launched on Tuesday, with some likening it to...
Stadia, Google's new cloud gaming service, officially launched on Tuesday, with some likening it to the Netflix (NFLX) of video games.

(CNN) — Just days before Google launched its long-awaited video game service, the company announced it would nearly double the number of titles available to play on day one. But even that last-minute move won’t be enough to guarantee it succeeds in the increasingly competitive gaming market.

Stadia, Google’s new cloud gaming service, officially launched on Tuesday, with some likening it to the Netflix of video games. With Stadia, users can stream and play games via smartphones, web browsers or wirelessly through a Chromecast.

A subscription runs $129.99 and comes with a Stadia controller, a Chromecast dongle, three months of usage and a free pass so a friend can also play. Next year, Google will release another streaming subscription option called Stadia Pro, which will cost $9.99 a month and include a rotating free game as well as a free-to-play version of Stadia with a lower resolution.

Stadia succeeds in delivering a console-quality experience without clunky, space-consuming hardware. You also don’t have to wait and install games, saving hours of typical downloading time for serious gamers. In tests ran by CNN Business, Stadia showed minimal lag, thanks to the cloud, and the graphics loaded seamlessly on mobile, even in particularly intense battle scenes — as long as the internet connection was strong.

Indeed, Stadia’s reliance on Wi-Fi is both one of its biggest drawbacks and also a positive. This makes it easier to play anywhere — at a friend’s house, in a hotel room or anywhere with Wi-Fi — but you’ll need a strong connection to keep things running (good luck in the subway). So while you save money on buying a console and hard copies of games, you’re sacrificing the typically smooth, offline experience you’d normally get on a console.

All of this could make Google’s first big attempt to break into the industry that much harder. Google is decades late to gaming, a market that’s long been dominated by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. With only 22 Stadia games available at launch — including “Red Dead Redemption 2,” released last year, and “Final Fantasy XV,” from 2016 — it’s well behind rivals such as Playstation Now’s rich library of 800 games.

“It’s a rolling release more than a blockbuster moment,” said Joost van Dreunen, managing director at SuperData, a Nielsen company that analyzes the video game industry. He also suspects that the buzz around other subscription services may “prevent people from immediately committing to Stadia out the gate.”

Google joins a growing list of competitors who are betting on cloud gaming. Sony launched its PlayStation Now streaming service in 2014 to some success, but some users continue to complain about lag time on social media. Gaming hardware company Nvidia is already in the space with GeForce Now. Microsoft started testing its cloud gaming service, Project xCloud, publicly in October and plans to bring it to PCs next year. Amazon is rumored to be looking into its own cloud gaming service.

Some of Google’s competitors aren’t exactly hiding their doubts about Stadia. When asked about Google’s late entry into the market, Kareem Choudhry, corporate VP of Microsoft’s Project xCloud, stressed his company’s long history of building content, a sense of community and cloud infrastructure.

“Any company that doesn’t have history in any one of those pillars — they have a lot of catching up to do,” he said.

Yet, each of these companies faces certain limitations in pushing forward with cloud gaming due to current networksExperts believe 5G, the next generation, much faster version of connectivity that’s slowly starting to roll out in the US, will be able to better support cloud gaming. Stadia head Phil Harrison told CNN Business Google is already looking into it.

“These things are often about timing,” he said. “It requires the level of technical investment and data center complexity of a company like Google to really deliver on the promise of cloud gaming.”

Microsoft agrees. “In many of these underserved markets, quite frankly even in the US, and especially in places like India, Southeast Asia, and the continent of Africa, 5G is going to be the solution to that last mile connectivity issue,” Choudry said.

Both Google and Microsoft also said they want to go after the 2.5 billion gamers worldwide, but many people who live in developing areas largely still don’t have the infrastructure to support cloud gaming.

For now, many companies are just focused on getting their cloud gaming platforms off the ground.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Kirstie Alley enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios on August 16, 2018 in Boreh...
Associated Press

Kirstie Alley, Emmy-winning ‘Cheers’ star, dies at 71

Kirstie Alley, a two-time Emmy winner who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Cheers” and the hit film “Look Who’s Talking,” has died. She was 71.
1 day ago
FILE (Mohave County (AZ) Sheriff's Office)...
Michael Houck

Arizona authorities investigate possible homicide in remote desert area

Authorities found a dead man in a remote area of the Arizona desert Sunday morning.
1 day ago
A TSA spokesman tweeted an image of the the weapons -- 3 saw blades, nunchucks, a switchblade and a...
Forrest Brown, CNN

TSA removes nunchucks, saw blades and more from carry-on bag in New York

One airline passenger thought it was a dandy idea to place a six-pack of sharp or potentially dangerous items into his carry-on bag at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Sunday.
1 day ago
A coyote attacked a 2-year-old girl in front of her house Friday afternoon in front of her house in...
David Williams, CNN

Coyote attacked 2-year-old girl in front of her Los Angeles house

A 2-year-old girl is recovering after being attacked by a coyote Friday afternoon in front of her house in a Los Angeles neighborhood.
1 day ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 07: Co-host Dolly Parton speaks onstage during the 57th Academy of Countr...
Eliza Pace

Dolly Parton joins Tiktok: ‘Better late than never!’

Dolly Parton has officially joined Tiktok.
1 day ago
Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti walks out of a New York court house after a hearing in a case w...
AMY TAXIN, Associated Press

Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in California fraud case

Incarcerated lawyer Michael Avenatti has been sentenced in Southern California to 14 years in federal prison for cheating his clients out of millions of dollars.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Google Stadia Is Here, But There Are Still Huge Issues