Had it ever occurred to you that the current direction where the gaming industry is heading is pretty much unsustainable? That if you want to keep up with the times you have to cash out hundreds of bucks just to sample a fraction of games you’d actually like to play, not to mention a small fortune you have to regularly invest in hardware (whether on PC or latest versions of consoles) just to be able to run something on pathetic medium settings? I don’t know about you, but all this awfully starts to remind on some bizarre version of the nuclear arms race – i.e. it’s draining too much of our resources and it probably won’t end well. Thankfully, things may be changing for the better, because there are some companies that are willing to think outside of the box, although their innovative technological solutions might permanently disrupt the current order of the gaming industry and bring about the final downfall of consoles as we know it.
We already hinted as much in one of our articles dedicated to the future of the consoles (which you can read here) and that various streaming services might be the game changer that we have been waiting for – or dreading, depending on your perspective on this particular matter. And, now, here’s the first of them: yesterday at GDC Google had officially unveiled their ambitious streaming service called Stadia. According to the things Google said, Stadia will offer us an unprecedented flexibility end enable even the owners of cheapest platforms and devices (be it PC, TV, smartphone or tablet) to enjoy high-end best selling games – providing, of course, that they have Google Chrome.
This “Google’s vision of the future of games”, as they themselves had proudly dubbed it, will be based on Google Cloud, which means that all the heavy lifting such as various rendering and processing will be done there thanks to Google’s “server class GPU, CPU, memory, and storage.” The games enabled in this manner will be effortlessly streamed to your device in the best possible quality (4k resolutions, with 60 frames per second and all other ultra-modern amenities) and you’ll be able to play it without any glitches, regardless of the device and the hardware you’ll be using. Best of all, to enjoy this kind of high-quality service, you won’t be required to invest in additional adapters, controllers or other hardware – you just need, as people from Google had explained, Google Chrome, Chromecast and “any type of screen.”
But, how all this will work? If all this had started to sound a bit too Sci-fi for your taste, consider this scenario and tell us that whether you’re like it or not: you’re browsing YouTube videos when some new blockbuster gaming title catches your eye. Normally, you’d have to buy or download it, which is always a fuss in itself. With Google Stadia, all you have to do is to press the play button and, in less than five seconds, your game will be ready. Google promises that this “waiting game will be thing of the past”, which is why Stadia had already been declared as video games version of Netflix.
In addition to this Google had announced that Stadia will bring even more good things to the gaming world, from “full cross-platform play” to full hacking and cheating protection. The end of consoles? The Ragnarok of personal computers? The end of days for the gaming we know it? Perhaps. Let’s see how it all goes in practice before we make any decisive conclusions. However, before we run into the hills and go into hiding in our gaming lairs and Batcaves, desperately clutching our beloved PCs and consoles, we should ask ourselves one fundamental truth: perhaps it’s high time for a serious change in the gaming industry? You probably know the answer already.