Game Guy: Google unveils new game streaming service

Illustration by Lindsay Lang.

By Colton Carrier, reporter.

For the wide majority of people, we have run headfirst into the streaming age; you don’t buy albums, you listen to them on Spotify; you don’t buy a DVD, you hop onto Netflix. From film, to music, all the way to books, streaming has become the mode du jour for every form of entertainment under the sun, but in the field of gaming, streaming has been a bit of a wild card.

Several companies have tried, and just as many have crashed hard. In the grand scheme of things, streamed gaming has been somewhat of a pipe dream. That is, until the announcement of Google’s Stadia.

Of course, it’s par for the course that someone big would eventually dive into streaming video games, but many people didn’t expect Google to take the big leap. The Google Stadia aims to eliminate the disc or digital choice from the equation, opting for a streaming platform, like Netflix or Spotify, but for video games.

Promising flawless quality on even the clunkiest, junkiest hardware, the Stadia could truly revolutionize the video game industry. While many details remain shrouded in secrecy, Google already has many major titles tied to the platform, with backing from id Software in the form of “Doom Eternal,” and Ubisoft in the form of “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.” Of course, all of this falls completely flat if the Google Stadia can’t follow through with its promises.

It’s one thing to make claims, but the reality of streaming is another issue all together. To put things in perspective, when you’re watching “Stranger Things” on Netflix, it’s not a problem to expect buffering, inconsistent quality, or technical problems. For a TV show, some stuttering and blurriness is fine, but when you’re burning around corners in “Forza Horizon” or hoping for frame-perfect combos in “Mortal Kombat 11,” a single dropped frame or freeze up can make or break your entire experience.

On top of all of this, there is just too little known about the Google Stadia. Not only do we not have a price point to look at, we don’t even have a clear idea how one will get games on the service. Sure, Google says you could just pop open a tab on Google Chrome and start playing Assassin’s Creed.

But will you have to drop $60 beforehand? Will you need to pay a monthly fee to play your games? Will you have any sort of ownership over the games you buy, or is it more along the lines of a long-term rental, until Google drops support for the Stadia? We don’t even know if you can save your progress in games, or if we’re looking at a long line of streamable demos. Maybe Google jumped the gun on revealing the Stadia without any major details, but I simply can’t look forward to it with so little information on the table.

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