Stadia, Google’s new video game streaming platform, is coming—and apparently, so is the future of gaming. If successful, Stadia could be set to dominate (and revolutionize) the gaming industry as we know it. And with their GDC presentation this year, we were given a sneak preview into this future; so what does this look like? We’ve had a go at predicting it.
Now lets look at this in a bit more detail:
If you’re a long-time gamer, you’ll understand the process of buying a single game and owning it for a lifetime. But with Stadia’s new streaming platform, this is set to change. It’s likely, come the platforms release, that you will have to subscribe to the service to get access to all the content. This means you’ll never ‘own’ a game, you’ll simply access it for a fee – and this, consequently, will change how you view the value of a game. Only time will reveal what pricing model Google has in store for its customers.
Whilst consumers pay for monthly access, publishers and developers need to make money. If a game appears on Stadia, how does it generate enough revenue to keep the faces behind it going? Especially considering the traditional monetization methods (such as initial sales and microtransactions for AAA games) may no longer be viable on a streaming platform? To get these companies on board, Stadia will have to offer better value and better revenue than what games are making on their current platforms (whether that be on Steam or their own platform).
If monetization methods change for publishers and developers, and consumers change their consumption habits to better fit Stadia’s streaming service, we’re likely to see a change in game design to accommodate that. What change we’ll see is hard to guess, but we’ve already seen it occur in other subscription-based platforms such as Netflix, which introduced a distribution method to actively encourage binge-watching. Will we be more likely to see shorter, more episodic games, like Dontnod’s Life is Strange, games with more microtransactions (MTX) or more diverse genres to accommodate the larger market?
With Stadia announcing it will now handle all the processing for games, consumers will no longer be obligated to buy consoles or hefty PC’s. This doesn’t bode for well for consoles or hardware, who rely on gamers to make purchases to play and upgrade their machines to indulge in the latest graphics and titles. This will further push hardware into a niche market and most likely push up hardware/computer prices. Stadia may very well, kill the console as we know it. Discuss how you can prepare for the future of gaming.
Is the console dead? Probably. Whether it goes sooner rather than later, its days are numbered.
For tech lovers and console gamers, the loss of hardware may be grim news – but there’s also a huge positive to come out of it. Many people who are unable to access or afford good hardware, will now be able to play games they were unable to before (provided they have a decent internet connection). This could expand market substantially. And this will mean more demand for games, more game diversity, more titles and more revenue.
Streamers already have a huge impact on the industry, but with the introduction of Google Stadia and its integration into YouTube, it’s about to get a whole lot bigger. With Google’s tease of gamers being about to jump straight from YouTube to a game in under 3 minutes - streamers will be able play new games quicker and faster than ever before and satisfy their demanding audiences more frequently.
With instantons gaming without a download from YouTube or a Chrome browser, Twitch just gained some serious new competition (considering the platforms unique value lies in live streaming). With Stadia coming sooner rather than later, Twitch will be forced to revaluate it’s proposition in order to retain its users and prevent them from moving to YouTube. This isn’t going to be an easy feat for Twitch, considering Google’s sheer infrastructure, power and influence - but we’ll be interested to see what they come up with.
The word ‘suddenly’ isn’t quite correct as game streaming services have been on the cusp of development for a while now. But with Google seriously entering the game (which an estimated launch of this year), its chances of success are higher than anyone that came before them - due to their huge revenue and tech knowledge. For current, smaller game streaming services, the precarious ‘far away future’, has now become the precarious ‘near future’.
Being the owner of YouTube, which is already a home for esports, Google’s Stadia will be sure to have an impact on the evolution of the esports segment of the gaming industry. Though it’s not immediately clear what this impact will be, we can guess. Cheating will become effectively impossible, with the game processing happening off site – this will raise the reliability of the sport and make people more likely to invest and potentially wager over games. There will also be no fluctuation in game performance if all games are streamed directly to monitors from the same processing system.
Esports is growing every day, both in popularity and in profits.
Something to consider is the Chinese market, which would be huge for Google, provided they could get in there. China is extremely strict about what is and what isn’t allowed into the country. This includes games. Will we see a partnership of China and Google, with some sort of compromise made? Or will we see China make its own streamlining platform instead of Stadia, perhaps partnering with another Chinese company instead? We’ll likely know sooner, rather than later.
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