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So here it is. I’ve finally had some time at home with Stadia to try it out and get my thoughts together. I spent a good bit of the weekend play-testing and trying different games. Here’s the conclusion I came to: It’s great, but not designed for me.
That’s largely an indictment on how Google marketed it. It was presented to us as the future of gaming, a tool for all gamers to escape the need to have top of the line hardware. A way to avoid patching, updating, and to play anywhere you want. And while it delivers on a good bit of that, it falls short conceptually. I believe the device is actually a stronger suit for older and more casual gamers.
When I think about my older cousins and relatives who game, the thing that stops them most often from playing new games is their hardware. They may still have a PS3, or an old PC. And no new releases are enough to make them invest in a new console just to play one game. They know they don’t have much time to play, so investing in a PS4 to play one new game a few hours a week isn’t worth it. Stadia solves that.
One of the biggest critiques of Stadia that I maintain is how much data it eats up. Someone playing on 4k and 60FPS is going to churn through up to 20 gigs of data per hour. A regular gamer is going to eat through their bandwidth cap very quickly at that rate. However, a casual gamer who can only play a few hours a week, won’t run in to that issue.
Picture a 45 year old gamer. For a 130 dollar investment, they now don’t have to worry about upgrading their hardware each generation. When a game comes out they want to play, they drop 60 bucks to buy it, and they’re good to go. They don’t worry about eating up too much data because they don’t play often. They don’t worry about having to be at their TV, because they can play wherever they are.
I don’t know if Stadia is going to succeed or not. I think if Google can figure out who their device is actually geared towards, it actually has a legit chance. I just know it’s not for me, and that’s okay too.