After a huge reveal in March this year, the release date for Google’s cloud-gaming platform seemed an awful long way away. There was a lot of excitement for the platform at the time, but that seems – in the circles I find myself in, in any case – to have dwindled to pretty much nothing over the course of 2019.
To illustrate just how little enthusiasm there seems to be for the service, it actually releases in five days time – and I didn’t even realise. There’s been some incorrect assumptions made along the way, along with genuine concerns about how well it can – and will – perform away from controlled conditions, out in the wild. None of this helps, of course – but to have a major new platform from one of the world’s biggest companies just five days from launch and for there to be zero buzz is quite a concern, especially when said platform can supposedly be played on pretty much anything with a screen, without the need to invest in expensive hardware that could become obsolete or outdated sooner rather than later.
The list of launch games was revealed this week, with the list of available titles as of the 19th of November being as follows: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Destiny 2, Gylt, Just Dance 2020, Kine, Mortal Kombat 11, Red Dead Redemption 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Samurai Shodown, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Thumper and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.
There’s some impressively big titles there, but with just two exclusives and many of the games having been released on other platforms for quite some time, it’s difficult to see who’ll pay full price for them. That’s the other problem with Stadia; I think that people were initially expecting a games on demand streaming service, but that’s most definitely not the case – games will still need to be purchased (though a Pro tier subscription service will be offered, that will give subscribers free games and the option of streaming at higher resolutions).
I’m very keen to see Stadia in action and it’d be fantastic to see it doing well. More competition in the games industry is always a good thing and should result in companies pushing themselves harder to deliver for consumers, but it’s very odd for there to be so little buzz around what should be a revolutionary new platform, this close to release. With many more titles announced and soon to follow after launch, we’ll soon get our first reports of just how well Stadia performs in the home – and whether or not it’s worth embracing an all digital, console-less future. It does feel as if the tech isn’t quite there – and that gamers aren’t quite ready for it anyway – but there’s little doubt that we’re headed in that direction anyway, in general. With regards to how big a part Stadia will play in that, time will soon tell.
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