Google Stadia is widely being talked about as the ‘Netflix for games.’ Unlike Netflix, Stadia will not support game downloads for offline playback though, Google VP Phil Harrison has confirmed in an interview with Gamespot. In simpler terms, players will always require an active Internet connection, in order to play Stadia games – which isn’t surprising since basically they’ll be playing these games remotely over the cloud off a Google data center. Speaking of which, Google is also aware that no gaming platform – as powerful as it may be - can succeed without an exhaustive catalogue of games. Which is possibly why Google has also announced the Stadia Games and Entertainment studio to develop first-party Stadia games.
“It was a conversation that I had with Google leadership before I joined the company. My point of view was in order to really deliver on the promise of this platform, we had to build our own games. We had to build our own experiences, and that was a very fundamental, strategic direction that we needed to move in,” Phil Harrison said adding that game downloads will “not (be) technically possible,” on Stadia.
Now Google has added offline functionality to its many apps and services including Maps after launching them as online-only – the same may not be true about Stadia though and Google is being transparent about it right at the offset, which is nice. What it isn’t telling though is how much its much-ambitious Stadia service will cost to the end-user – also it isn’t telling anything about how many third-party developers are on-board to build games for Stadia (apart from Doom Eternal) or any of the first-party games (if any) its Stadia Games and Entertainment studio is working on.
Google announced Stadia at its first-ever Game Developers Conference (GDC) keynote event in San Francisco on March 20 promising console-quality gaming (4K at 60fps at launch, and 8K 120fps later) sans an actual console. The service will leverage Google’s massive infrastructure of data centers – that will in turn be powered by a custom AMD chip capable of churning out 10.7 GPU teraflops (for some perspective, the most powerful gaming console in the world, the Xbox One X maxes out at 6 teraflops) - simply put, Stadia is the most powerful gaming ring in the world. Not to mention, the most ambitious.
But as powerful and ambitious as Stadia might be, it raises more questions than it answers at this point of time – hopefully, Google will have more to say soon (possibly at E3). Stadia will be launching in 2019 (an exact launch window hasn’t been announced) in the US, Canada, UK and Europe to begin with.