Since before the launch of Google stadia on November 19th, I’ve started seeing articles and videos on why Google stadia is going to fail, how the game collection is really bad, how they are using wires right now instead of going completely wireless, and I’m getting tired of everyone shutting stadia down without giving it a chance.
A few people have even compared it to the other services that are going to launch like Microsoft’s xCloud and said how those were going to be better as they know the space.
I’m just going to write about what got me excited about Stadia when it was launched, and why I still am as excited about the service as I was when they announced it.
To start with, I’m going to give a background. I am not a gamer. It’s not because I don’t like games. I do. I used to play a lot of games back in school when I had a computer. Back then, games like Midtown Madness didn’t ask you for overclocked octa cores or having teraflops of graphics just to enjoy some downtime. I could enjoy almost any famous game without having to ask my parents to spend an arm and a leg on a system.
Games didn’t use to ask for octa cores and teraflops of graphics
After school, it got real. When you’re working on a limited budget and trying to get into Computer Science, your system becomes something more than a downtime. You have to decide on what to buy based on research, use case and something that will help and be there for the long haul.
And research I did. After months, I concluded that Macbook Pro would be a good investment (in 2011) when all my friends were buying Windows laptops with loudspeakers and amazing graphics. I still remember the conversation I had with my cousin. He said- If you’re sure about it, know that you’ll never be able to play games like you used to. The model I opted for had no graphics card, and with 4GB RAM, around 300MBs of Integrated graphics, how can you even argue that. And I know it was a good decision because I’m typing this article on that same laptop 9 years later, now upgraded to 16gigs and SSD, running better than the day I purchased it.
If you’re sure about buying a macbook, know that you’ll never be able to play games like you used to.
I have thought about getting a new laptop or a console for gaming so many times since, but it just never made sense to spend money frivolously when I knew there’s no future for that device after a couple of years. Shifting every few of years doesn’t work with lugging a console and a TV around. Getting a bulky laptop for everyday use when I knew I’m only going to play games rarely never made sense. And games are becoming crazily graphics intensive that the systems now start with a couple of thousand dollars with decent graphics. When the lowest recommendation is 4 gigs of VRAM with a 7th Gen i5, you know where we are heading.
When you’re on the move every few years, you can’t really get into consoles or bulky systems.
I remember being excited when I got a good enough smartphone that maybe I can finally game, but, well, have you seen what mobile versions of games are like? Civilisation, Age of Empires… They are so bad that I feel for the franchise after playing them.
Gaming on mobile is just…
Then google announces Stadia.
We have been moving away from CDs and DVDs for so long now. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ etc would never have thrived if we had kept saying how buffering is bad, the collection limited and kept buying CDs for the movies instead of shifting to streaming services. Was your internet that good when Netflix came that you instantly switched over? Has it always been cheap and buffering free browsing YouTube? Not for me at least. I remember pausing the youtube video every time I open it and allow it to buffer enough so that I can watch it uninterrupted. How many of you still prefer buying CD players? Or have CD players in their systems?
Moving from CDs to streaming was also shaky at the beginning
I think just like back then, the industry is afraid of what Google can do with streaming games. All the Xboxes and PlayStations have to start working on cloud offerings now or become as obsolete as the CD players now are. And with how many data centres Google has and the low latencies and streaming experience it has, I can say they did an amazing job with Stadia.
117ms is what I saw in one of the youtube reviews. 117ms of latency for a game running thousands of miles away on servers. The path being instructions going from your stadia controller to the servers through all the internet congestion, through the OSI layers or however they are sending the signals, their servers processing it all in real-time and sending back 4K video, again, all of this in under 117 ms. That just blows my mind. PUBG on my mobile has that kind of latency and that’s actually running on my system.
Having just 117 latency for 4k heavy duty games at launch is simply amazing
I get that all those FPS games will suffer in these latencies. Or games like DOTA will due to them requiring really fast response rates to be competitive. But I think Stadia at launch is not really for those types of games. I can see games like Planet Zoo, Civilisation 6, Cities Skyline etc thriving on Stadia right from the get-go. The only obstacle I can see to that is the Vulkan which I think will catch on really fast.
FREE 1080P gaming. How are you not get excited over that? Just pay for the game and you can play it for free forever or as long as google keeps it free. How can you not be excited over that? It just boggles my mind when people are not shouting how good these offerings are.
Free 1080p gaming at 60fps is a really good offering for those without a gaming device
A new game is out but the system you bought doesn’t really support even the lowest settings anymore? Yeah, time to spend thousands of dollars to play that game now. How does that even make sense to anyone? Oh, you like Pokemon? Time to buy Nintendo Switch, even though the only games you might play on that are Pokemon and Zelda. New spiderman game is out, but you have to get Playstation to play that, or Xbox for the Halo fans. You might be made out of money, but I sure am not.
Market is too scattered in franchises and devices to always keep wanting more.
This is no different than shifting from CD players to streaming services, from owning expensive servers to data centres and renting the servers from them. You think it’s easy to even get 117ms latency? It is so bad for others that Cloudflare’s premium 126.96.36.199 Wrap+ is a service that helps you avoid internet congestion to get better latency and speeds. While the world has shifted to streaming everything, the Internet is the one to suffer the most.
The tech behind Stadia is a complex problem that Google has amazingly tried to solve
Now it might sound like I’m a google’s fanboy here or just too blinded to the flaws of Stadia, but believe me, I’m not. I’ve always been more data-driven in how I spend my money. I need to be able to justify myself that the money I’m spending was a well thought out decision with pros and cons balanced. A service promising free 1080p 60fps gaming on any platform with reasonably low latencies backed with 10.7 teraflops of graphics only asking to purchase the games? I’m in. This is just like renting out the data centres to play games which seems amazing to me. I can’t even begin to comprehend the complexities behind a project like this. But I can appreciate the effort made by the stadia team here and hope that they launch in Singapore soon (I know you have a data centre in Singapore google. In a city with dedicated data centre for lowest latencies.. Why have you not launched here?!)
Just launch in Singapore, will you?