Google launched its cloud gaming service on November 19th, and People looked forward to the concept of cloud gaming. Google is leading the industry towards cloud gaming, that is a big feat for every gamer in the world right now. But Google Stadia isn’t fully optimized and better, as Google addressed. There are some significant flaws in the gaming aspect of Stadia and many more.
Stadia’s Unimpressive Launch:
On November 19th Google launched Stadia to the public, and it flopped. Yes, Google Stadia flopped at release, and people sure are unimpressed. Everybody expected Google Stadia to be the final product hoping that Google delivers every service and feature. Google didn’t provide full service and features as they have pushed the release date of these features like buddy pass, negative latency, instant access, etc. Many reviewers had a chance to use the new Stadia before launch, and OOOFFF the reviews aren’t great.
There are tons of problems, and the thing is the cloud gaming needs more time to develop. The Stadia launch was kind of like a beta launch or for beta testing as only people who bought the Founders Edition get to use in 2019 (Founders Edition Cost $129).
It wasn’t THE LAUNCH that got people excited. Google should have taken time and postpone the date of release rather than putting forward a half-cooked, unattractively plated food to the public. Google has left a bad taste of cloud gaming in the mouth of the people. If Google doesn’t fulfill its promised vision in cloud gaming, it will not only leave a scar in the company, and it will also affect other cloud streaming services that are to come shortly.
So let’s break down why Google Stadia’s launch was such a big flop.
So Where Did Stadia Fall Behind?
Stadia is focused on gaming on the cloud without the need for a highly expensive gaming computer or a console with seamless gameplay with near to no lag and input latency while gaming. And they have utterly failed with tons of disappointment. Let’s talk about the pre-launch; everything looked good only on the Google Pixel. Yeah, I said it correct, things looked good streaming on the phone. The visual where crisp, there were low latency issues with lower input lag. Looking at the gaming performance on a laptop or TV, many have reported having some problems like stuttering, input lag, game buffering, etc. Streaming 4K isn’t true 4K, as it’s just an upscaled 1080p format. The games seem pixelated due to image compression, and there is a significant loss of quality.
Looks like Stadia currently suited for puzzle and slow-paced games, Games like Mortal Kombat 11 and Destiny 2 are competitive games and need high frame rates and faster response rates to gain a competitive edge on the opponent. Since there are input lags and stutters while gaming, sometimes your movement, aiming, prediction on a game might be capped by the system, not your skills, even losing the mental edge in competitions.
Hardware and Availability:
Google only sent customized Chromecast Ultra for the Founder Pass Users with the controller included in the bundle. There wasn’t any support for the existing Chromecast; Google revealed the firmware update would later come for the pre-existing Chromecast. Till now, only Google Pixels (From Pixel 2 to Pixel 4) supports Stadia. We hope Google to launch Stadia to different mobile devices. As talking on the computer side, Stadia works fine! While using the controller only. Significant input lag is seen using the keyboard and mice.
The Stadia controller looks like a generic controller holding some resemblance towards the Sony’s DualShock Controller or Nintendo’s Pro Controller. It has a dedicated Stadia and Google assistant buttons. The overall layout of the controller is generic, which includes 2 thumbstick, trigger buttons (L1 L2, R1 and R2), D-pad, and action buttons. The Trigger buttons are mushy with no tactile feedback, and the screenshot button doesn’t work all the time. The controller has inbuilt WIFI. The controller connects to the WIFI directly sending your game inputs straight to the Google server. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack and can also function via a wired connection.
Google Stadia is only available to the founder pass members, and many members haven’t even gotten their activation code. To activate Stadia, you need a freaking Google Pixel Device with Stadia App, and you can’t activate through Chromecast Ultra. Google didn’t even give them all the full features. You will need a personal Google account to buy Stadia and your Gsuite account, Google students account won’t work with Stadia. The Free Stadia will be available in 2020, probably in the second or third quadrant of 2020.
Stadia only works through Wifi or ethernet. Stadia doesn’t work on mobile data unless you have an extra phone to tether with tons of internet data. Yes, Stadia draws a lot of data, and I mean a lot. Stadia might set you back on your internet bills; it consumes over 5GB per hour on 720p gaming. Gaming daily on Stadia for 3 hours might use your use over 500GB, sometimes even 1TB monthly. ISP’s might take advantage of that, making new offerings or increasing the price of internet packages.
Using Stadia in a crowded environment might hamper your gaming experience due to the signals bouncing around the room and the connectivity issues. Stadia needs stable and dedicated internet to work if substantial internet activity like downloading big files or uploading large files might affect your gameplay. Google rates 10Mbps for “baseline” 720p game streaming and 35Mbps for full 4K experience. Reviewers and People, even though they had decent internet, they experienced hiccups while gaming and a noticeable drop in-game visual quality.
Game Library and Ecosystem:
Ugh! Oh, Google, you could have set back the release date of Stadia. Samsung set back the Galaxy Fold; Google can’t you flipping postpone a launch? Talking about the games like Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, Red Dead Redemption 2, Destiny 2, Stadia’s exclusive Glyt, etc. can be played at launch. But during the Stadia’s Press Conference, more games were highlighted like Borderlands 2, Metro Exodus, Final Fantasy XV, Football Manager 2020, etc which are unavailable. A lot of the games will be ported a few days after the launch or even next year limiting the Stadia Library.
Google just started its ecosystem with the Stadia. We are not sure that the games we bought can be download to our home system. That will be a big bummer as we have to be dependent on Google’s Stadia ecosystem. This ecosystem affects the people who want to game on the go even though they have a powerful gaming station at home. Games in the Stadia Library cost more and even high as $69.99 (DLCs not included.).
Is Google Even Applicable in Nepal?
NO! Stadia isn’t for Nepal, and it won’t launch here. Nepal doesn’t even have the infrastructure suitable for Stadia. The internet is slow in Nepal; ISPs have lowered the data cap, we face latency issues, etc. We don’t have a Google server, and so we will face substantial latency issues with input lag. The games are expensive; Nepalese don’t shell out money on a new game; rather they like to pirate the games. It would be applicable to bring Stadia to Nepal as people can’t afford the high-end desktop, and Stadia would be an excellent application to an average gamer in Nepal. As I said before, the current Nepalese infrastructure doesn’t allow us right now.
Google has missed out on a lot of things they were willing to provide to the general public. There were a lot of disappointments during the launch day. I hope we can see improvements in Stadia in the coming future. Yes, It seems more like a beta launch or test launch rather than a fully-fledged launch. We hope to see more about this cloud gaming service, how Google might be optimizing it?, and similar services from Microsoft, Sony, etc. can surpass Google or never make it to the market? These Questions will still linger on everyone interested in cloud gaming or bought similar services. For now, Google has paved the path for cloud gaming for everyone, but the road has bumps and cracks along the way that need maintenance and improvement.