Over on my clan’s forum, we have been discussing Stadia. Here is what I wrote on the subject.
I own physical media and much prefer it. I have a large collection of “digital” books and never read them but the physical books get read. I have DVDs and BlueRay disk of my favourites.
However, I still pay for a subscription service, more than one in fact. Amazon, Netflix and two wresting streaming services.
Netflix is for convenience. Imaging back when we would go to the video shop and rent a VHS tape. I look at Netflix like a small monthly payment and I can take out any number of rentals a week.
I would never “buy” a movie I did not get the disk. The same is true of Music, I own CDs but also pay Google for streaming, it’s for convenience.
Games are different, own most of my games in digital format. I can of course back them up but without Steam, they are all but gone. If Valve goes out of business and shuts up shop my games are gone. The same is true of Origin and Ubisoft.
As for the technical side of streaming games.
You click on a 4K video on YouTube it starts within a second. So Google can deliver the content. What you see on your screen is little different from a video on YouTube. The question is can they spin up a box running the game as quickly as they claim? They spoke in the keynote about starting a game within 4 seconds! To spin up an instance so quickly would be impressive.
If you are using the official Google controller, then it has no link to what is showing the video stream. It is connected over the internet independently. You are remoting into the server that is running the game with the controller and the video output of that machine is streamed to you just like YouTube. As they said in the keynote the screen can be almost anything that can show a YouTube video.
They must be very confident in their backend. The idea of coordinating a massively multiplayer game where every player is remoting into a games machine in their data centre. With the video and audio content is then streamed back to the players is mind-bending.
Many years running the world most used video content platform has given them the experience needed I guess on the streaming side. Running cloud servers where they can spin up new instances seamlessly to meet load requirements. The only thing they needed was the hardware to play the games. All of that and a whole heap of money.
The two things that will kill them or make them kings will be the games library and the business model. Subscription or do you have to buy the games. If it’s buying the games I’m not going to bother and I couldn’t recommend anyone getting involved.
If the game library is lacking then people won’t pay for a subscription and it’s game over.
So, if it’s a subscription service? And the games are good, the lag is acceptable, then why not it will be the Netflix of games.