Google’s attack on $140 billion gaming industry starts now with its announced launch of Google Stadia, a new cloud gaming platform that allows instant access and game play on virtually any screen.
Google’s groundbreaking announcement was made yesterday at the 2019 Game Developers Conference held in San Francisco. It follows much anticipation and inevitability among players and developers in the industry, given that Google has been hinting of its strategic attack for many years. Are the aspirational goals of one the world’s Big Four about to dominate one the largest, fastest growing industries of our time?
As we are all aware, the frustrating restriction of streaming games is the vast amount of data and bandwidth this requires. According to Google, their new game streaming platform, Google Stadia, promises to deliver instant access to your favourite games on any type of screen – whether it’s a TV, laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone, allowing instant, smooth transition and continuous play from one device to another. Their goal is to make games available in resolutions up to 4k and 60 frames per second with HDR and surround sound, potentially freeing game players from the limitations of traditional consoles and PCs. Google states, “we’ve thought deeply about what it means to be a gamer and worked to converge two distinct worlds: people who play video games and people who love watching them. Stadia will lift restrictions on the games we create and play—and the communities who enjoy them.”
It is not yet clear how the new cloud-based platform will be priced, but assumedly this will be pitched on a subscription basis for players and watchers alike. Google are also keeping it close to their chest concerning what games will be included on the platform. In an interview with the BBC, Phil Harrison, Google’s Vice President and Head of Stadia, was coy about revealing any details, he stated that there will be triple A-games available on the platform: “we started with Ubisoft bringing their absolute latest game […] to our platform back in October and I think that gives you a pretty strong indication of our direction of travel”. Google did announce at the GDC that id Software’s Doom Eternal will be one of the first games available.
However, no matter how high-end the games are, streaming services are only as good as the hardware’s internet connection with gamers suffering the infuriating ‘lag’ in which a split-second reaction means the difference between winning or losing. It appears Google have thought of everything with the creation of their Stadia controller. This state-of-the-art gamepad connects directly to the Google platform via Wi-Fi, relinquishing any independence on hardware and eliminating resynching required when switching devices. The controller includes an instant capture button for saving and sharing, a Google (voice-powered) Assistant button, built-in microphone, a USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
BBC’s report highlighted that Google is hoping to leverage its success with YouTube, which is incredibly popular among gamers sharing their skills, to make its own gaming platform a success. “Hundreds of millions of people watch gaming content on YouTube every single day. Our vision is to bring those worlds closer together,” said Phil Harrison. During their on-stage announcement, Mr. Harrison demonstrated how someone viewing a video on YouTube could press a ‘play on Stadia’ button and begin playing the title within seconds.
Google’s announcement is exciting news for gamers, providing a new dynamic platform for the future of the gaming landscape – if Google can follow through on their promise to eliminate lag and latency.
It remains to be seen if the ambitious goals of Google’s Stadia will become the future of gaming or whether it will follow in the ghostly footsteps of Google+, but it is certainly a space to be watched.
So, what’s the future for the traditional gaming console? And, what impact will Google’s Stadia platform have on the generation and flows of traffic for eCommerce? Now is the time for brands to anticipate the evolution of the gaming and eSports industries and adapt product eContent in order to effectively target this rising new market.
In the words of Google: “Using Google’s vast experience, reach and decades of investment we’re making Stadia a powerful gaming platform for players, developers and YouTube content creators—of all sizes. We’re building a playground for every imagination… this new era of gaming needs a new place to gather.”
Stadia will be launching later in the year to select countries such as the US, Canada, UK and much of Europe.
At the eBusiness Institute, we have extensive experience of working with numerous brands on their digital transformation, from audits and analytics to campaign management and eContent strategies. We understand the importance of an optimised consumer experience to drive your brand’s sales online and offline. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you