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Google Stadia Has Major Hurdles to Overcome

by Michael Goodman | Mar 22, 2019

Cloud gaming is hot. Sony, Nvidia, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Verizon have all either launch a cloud gaming service or have one in development. At the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, Google began pulling back the covers on its long anticipated cloud gaming service, Stadia.

Google Stadia

According to Google, Stadia represents the future “where games can be played anywhere. You won’t need an expensive gaming PC or a dedicated game console. Instead, you’ll just need access to Google’s Chrome browser to instantly play games on a phone, tablet, PC, or TV.”

Despite taking center stage at GDC critical details about the service remain unknown.

  • How much the service will cost?
  • Will it be subscription-based? If not, what will its business model be?
  • When is it launching (aside from some time in 2019)?
  • Can you own your games in the cloud?
  • What games will it have?
  • What bit rate will Stadia games stream at?
  • Will it support iOS?

Google promised that these and other details will be coming later in the summer, possibly at Google I/O. Without these details it is difficult to judge how successful Stradia will be, here are just some of the issues it must overcome if they hope to succeed where many others have failed.

  1. Stadia will have a difficult time acquiring a library that will drive sales.
  2. Porting makes the cost of licensing more expensive.
  3. Stadia has an underdeveloped studio system.
  4. Mobile games and console/PC games are very different experiences.
  5. Console/PC games are not designed for the touch screens.

While much has been written about the threat of Stadia to Microsoft (XBOX), Sony (PlayStation), and Nintendo there really is not much here that any of them should feel particularly worried about in the short to mid-term. Further compounding the difficulty for Google, Sony already has a successful subscription streaming game service (PlayStation Now) and Microsoft a successful subscription game download service (Xbox Game Pass) which according Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, “already has millions of subscribers,” a cloud gaming service in development, and both a traditional next generation game console and a streaming console in development.

Making this even more challenging for Google and other cloud gaming services, Microsoft and Sony can put exclusive 1st party titles on any service they develop. They can also choose to release new games on their subscription service day and date with retail, something Microsoft is already doing with Xbox Game Pass. This gives them a distinct competitive advantage over Stadia and any of the other cloud gaming service coming out.

Clients of Strategy Analytics TV & Media (TMS) service can read our in-depth analysis of Stadia, including all the challenges it faces here or if you are interested in purchasing the report please contact mgoodman@strategyanalytics.com.

 

 

 

 

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