Google Stadia: DOA?

I know there’s a lot of smart people who work at Google I’m just not sure they are in charge. I’ve written before about how the Google Stadia model will affect the gaming industry as the cloud wars begin. I still believe that but Google Stadia will be the first casualty and there are a plethora of reasons. Today VGN will look at the reasons Google’s new gaming console will suffer the same fate as the Ouya and probably whatever this is by Atari.

Pre-Orders Below Expectations

This is the most obvious sign that Stadia is in trouble. Yes there have been other consoles that stumbled out of the gate and made a come back. Xbox One and PS3 come to mind. I’m not so sure the Stadia will have the same shelf life as those examples. Microsoft and Sony have hardcore brand loyalists who will buy whatever they release because of “screw the other guys” mentality. Stadia does not have that luxury. They are a brand new player in this arena and what they need is a killer app exclusive.

The only exclusive they are releasing is a game called Gylt from Tequilla Studios. While the screen shots look really good and Tequilla is a great developer there is zero hype behind this. Ok maybe zero hype is not 100% true but when you load up Stadia’s homepage what do we see? Destiny 2. A game that was released eons ago and if you didn’t pick it up you were offered it for free on PS Plus.

When the original Playstation launched they had a hilarious campaign featuring everyone’s favorite bandicoot trash talking Nintendo. That is how you do it. Not only was he the mascot for the new system Sony was advertising a first party exclusive that wanted to take on Nintendo and Sega. Google doesn’t have to create a hostile advertising campaign towards its competitors but why should I be excited about Stadia? If Gylt is all you have it should be front and center. It’s kinda neat that your device can stream games on multiple devices but that’s not enough to excite hardcore gamers. What are you giving us that separates you from the PS4, Xbox One or PC? I own all of these I can tell you the pros and cons of each one. If I got a Stadia the pros list would be pretty short.

Performance Issues

I really get a sick satisfaction when an executive from a giant corporation makes a ridiculous statement. First, I laugh because of how out of touch they are. Then I feel sick because I fear some people will fall for it.

Google VP Phil Harrison is quoted as saying:

“ISPs are smart [and] they understand that they’re in the business of keeping customers happy and keeping customers with them for a long time.”

What he’s basically saying is that internet service providers will who only offer data caps in certain areas will get their act together and either increase them or offer unlimited data because…customer service? If a greedy corporation who’s the only game in town recognizes that their customers are stuck in a data cap service package and are streaming (older) AAA video games they’ll be seeing dollar signs. Streaming Netflix and music is far different then streaming software that weigh in at 50-100gbs.

Stadia customers are at the mercy of the speed of their ISPs. If you live in a small rural town that doesn’t offer lightning fast internet you might be out of luck. Maybe they’re not the target customers you say? True but when you look at the price of this thing it looks like a really good alternative to a high end PC or current-gen consoles. At face value is looks like a good alternative but you’re not saving money subscribing to this thing and we’ll get to that in a bit.

Now lets talk about the actual performance of the games that are tested on reliable high speed internet. As you can see from the gif above there are issues. Not only have their been documented issues with the performance but you can see from these screenshots how this service actually performs.

Pricing Strategy

I can buy games whenever I want? What a bargain!

The Google Stadia comes with a 129.99 USD price tag. At face value that is extremely cheaper than the PS4 and Xbox One that are 249.99 at their cheapest (they’ll probably be 199.99 with a bundle on black friday). You will get three months free of a subscription service that allows you to stream up to 4K resolution at 60FPS with 5.1 Surround Sound.

What if you don’t have a 4K tv? Well not to worry because there will be a free subscription service that will stream games at 1080P and 60FPS but the games will be in stereo. Really? And that’s not all you have to wait until 2020 at some point if you want the free subscription service.

Ok so lets say we subscribe 9.99/month and we get all the 4K 60FPS goodness. Some games still come with a 59.99 price tag and that’s where the Stadia starts to release an aroma of hot garbage. You are paying monthly for performance not a selection of games. Contrast this with Xbox GamePass and you can download any game you want on the service and never worry about surround sound or resolution.

If I were to purchase Assassins Creed: Odyssey for 59.99 on the Xbox One X I get 4k 60fps no matter what. If my internet is down and I can’t play COD: Modern Warfare with my friends I can still fire up Assassins Creed and enjoy all the visuals in it’s 4K glory. Out of curiosity I just Googled (ha!) Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and it’s 29.99 on Xbox and Playstation. On Google Stadia it’s on sale from 59.99 to 30.00 because your a pro member. So if the Base membership were available those 1080p free loaders would be paying full price. The ultimate edition is on sale from 119.99 to 60.00 but if you buy it directly from Ubisoft it’s base price is 60.00 . It’s not a sale that’s how much it is. The description from the Ubisoft Store reads as such: ” Get powerful gear, two new stories across six episodes in the season pass, and Assassin’s Creed III Remastered for 4K and HDR upon its release. ” 4K and HDR every time you play no matter your internet speed.

Their Launch Library is Poo

  1. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  2. Attack on Titan: Final Battle 2
  3. Destiny 2: The Collection (available in Stadia Pro)
  4. Farming Simulator 2019
  5. Final Fantasy XV
  6. Football Manager 2020
  7. Grid 2019
  8. Gylt
  9. Just Dance 2020
  10. Kine
  11. Metro Exodus
  12. Mortal Kombat 11
  13. NBA 2K20
  14. Rage 2
  15. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  16. Red Dead Redemption 2
  17. Samurai Shodown (available in Stadia Pro)
  18. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  19. Thumper
  20. Tomb Raider 2013
  21. Trials Rising
  22. Wolfenstein: Youngblood

22 games you probably have played or already own. That’s not to say any of these games are bad. They’re old. Only one of these games is an exclusive. Three of these games are Tomb Raider. THREE OF THESE GAMES ARE TOMB RAIDER. It’s starting to become apparent that this is a beta that’s being advertised as a finished product. Speaking of which…

Every Other Feature Promised is Delayed

If you wanted to play Stadia’s Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey at 4K, HDR, 60 FPS and surround sound on your PC you’ll have to wait. Or you can just download it off Steam and be done with it. No subscription needed.

Don’t want to pay 9.99 subscription fee for useless 4K? You’ll have to wait to next year.

Stream Connect which allows you to integrate someone else’s game stream into yours will not be available at launch. ONE game will have it available by the end of the year. Yay

State Share which allows players to jump into each others live streams via YouTube (sorry Twitch you’re just not popular enough) won’t be available

Google Assistant which is supposed to be integrated into this mess will not be available at launch. Well not really. You’ll be able to use it to turn on the TV at launch. It will not work on the Stadia homescreen at launch and you can’t use it on your PC or Phone yet. I’m a little confused as to what the assistant is supposed to do for you when you want to play every Tomb Raider that’s been released this generation. But then I remembered I don’t care.

Family Sharing which allows you to share games with your family members (how sweet) will not be available at launch. Is there really a technological reason this can’t be available at launch?

Project X Cloud

Sure Google is Google and no one uses Bing. Now it’s time for Microsoft to exact some revenge. If you have never heard of Project X Cloud it is Xbox’s Stadia. Except they’ve done something smart and actually released a beta. You can only use Android devices but it’s already better. Why? Over 50 games. They’ve already dwarfed Stadia’s sad library of games. Unfortunately Crackdown 3 is one of those games but it’s still already better.

Of course Microsoft is going to have to deal with the same internet limitations that Stadia has to deal with. I’m interested in seeing how this beta goes and how the reviews will fare once it’s released. They already have a canary in the cloud gaming mine. All they have to do is learn from Stadia’s mistakes and maybe this type of service will be main stream.

Personally I’m starting to get a little tired of subscribing to everything. I’m subscribed to Netflix, Amazon, Xbox Live, Xbox gamepass, PS plus and even a freaken razor blade service. If cloud gaming becomes the future that’s fine but I much prefer owning a sleek box that plays games I OWN. In my day you’d buy a cartridge for a hundred bucks and if you were lucky the game was actually good. Sometimes you’d have to go to a Blockbuster which was known as a temporary entertainment leasing establishment and rent the game. Otherwise you were rolling the dice when making a gaming purchase. There was none of this subscribing and internet gobbily gook. I know what your thinking. Allow me to post the meme you’re all thinking of.

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