Tobold's Blog
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Slight change of plan

I haven't changed my mind on the principal content of my recent "consumer advice" post, that is to say that I recommend very much to not subscribe to more than 1 game subscription service at a time. However I thought I would soon unsubscribe from the Xbox Game Pass for PC, and subscribe to Google Stadia instead. That isn't going to happen.

First of all I simply misunderstood Google Stadia. While I was aware of the streaming aspect of the system, I thought that otherwise it was a game subscription service like the others. It isn't. From the already thin starting line-up of Google Stadia, only a single game is playable for the $129 it costs to get the hardware and 3 months of subscription. The other games, like Red Dead Redemption 2, which I would have loved to play, require an additional full price purchase. At this point in time the offer for me was equivalent to playing Red Dead Redemption 2 for $200. So I cancelled my order. I already have a gaming PC that can run even resource-hungry games, so for me there is no advantage in the Google Stadia service whatsoever.

On the Xbox Game Pass for PC side, the news are better: New games are coming to the service. That includes games that I would like to play, like some of the Final Fantasy games. So my plan has changed to sticking with that service for a while longer before trying anything else.

Perfectly reasonable. I see Stadia's appeal as a more "I am a bleeding edge early-adopter and want to embrace tech before the mass market thinks it's ready." If one spent $1000 on Day 1 VR glasses, might as well get Stadia.

I hope the tech catches on. At least scalable servers should help on launch day and even end-of-life. If non-gaming computing is going cloud, it is not a huge stretch for cloud gaming. Of course, in the short term with existing tech, there are constraints to cloud gaming. But my retort to those sort of objections is "that is what mainframes said about minicomputers, what minis said about PCs and what dinosaurs said about mammals.

If you are old enough to remember Apple's 1984 commercial, the joke/truth is that the war between mainframes and PCs is over and the mainframes won.

My only real worry is Google. An amazing tech company with innovations, but not my first choice for "support products for the long term thru thick and thin"

Google Staida is a viable solution for those who don't own a decent PC/console. I don't think it really focuses on gamers who already have a gaming setup.
I don't think you will always have to pay $129 up front. That is just their initial offering for "early adopters" that includes a chromecast and dodgy looking controller. It is my understanding that once the system is up and running completely you will be able to use you own hardware (PC, Tablet etc). The 1080P tier will be free but you have to buy games from Google while the 4k tier will cost $10 per month but will have some free games included.

I think it is way to early to judge and Google do have a habit of ruining brilliant product ideas but I could see this taking off if they market it well. The free tier is probably the most essential entry point because people who try the free tier may stick around. google are going to have to spend big bugs on some killer games to give away free (or at very low cost) if they want this to take off though.
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