Last month at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Google announced the launch of Stadia, a streaming service that removes consoles and GPUs from games and replaces them with smart TVs, tablets, phones or any other computer. , of course) and an internet connection.
The obvious question for mobile developers is this: has Google just killed mobile games? Although some questions remain unanswered, the answer is: absolutely not.
What does "games anywhere" mean?
With Stadia, Google wants you to play these games in the subway, in the air, on long drives, or even in the undergrowth – basically, wherever you play mobile games, including the office and the couch. Mobile games are known for their portability; If you've been queuing lately, chances are you'll see people playing on their phones. And I'm not talking about a DMV line – I mean, even within the four minutes it takes for their name to be called at Starbucks.
While this may seem appealing, anyone who has ever tried Sony's streaming technology on their phone knows that console (and PC) title commands rarely translate well into mobile. Stadia's innovative Wi-Fi controller will help in some environments, but it's safe to say that the best mobile experiences are the ones that are built on them. As the guardian of the Play Store, Google knows it too.
The need for speed
We do not know how Stadia will manage the real world of Internet infrastructure. At launch, Google says Stadia will support 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (fps), with surround sound and HDR. But this is possible only with an ideal connection status and does not take into account bandwidth limitation, data caps or, like many of them, GDC, Wi-Fi lower hotel.
While the technology is impressive (and Google's servers in the cloud are impressive), they can not control the final speed of the user, which could be a disaster for competing players. In addition, there are places in the world, even in the United States, where people do not have access to broadband Internet at all. Google can do a lot of things, but it does not seem to be able to bring fast Internet to the masses, in droves.
That said, Google's cloud infrastructure is massive and its expertise is among the best. If anyone can solve this problem, Google can.
Work with game developers
We are sure that E3 will reveal more, but the fact that Google has announced that a single game for the launch of Stadia says a lot about the general freshness of this traditional gaming space. More importantly, is the pricing model mysterious: subscription, digital showcase or hybrid model? Ads? How will they pay the developers? Everything is nebulous – but it may be because they've never done it before. I'm not convinced that Google even cares about Thu; Stadia could have been devoted to recipes, podcasting or streaming canine programs.
What is it? really by the way, then?
Youtube. Currently, it is the # 1 source of video game videos, with 50 billion hours watched in 2018. Google certainly intends to use it as a virtually free advertising platform to target the players. Indeed, as any developer will say, demos do not move sales by themselves – advertising does (you still need to bring users to the demo stage). Viewers of these ads will be able to start games directly from videos, including commercials, by clicking the "Play Now" button.
YouTube also has an integrated community. Streamers can create lobbies for fans to join and play with. Will Stadia make the games what YouTube did for the video? The creators of console games and free mobile games should pay close attention to the impact that this type of streaming model will have on their own products as well as on their minds.
In the mobile space
The game is a big deal: $ 135 billion, of which revenue from mobile gaming accounts for almost half. And in mobile gaming, Apple wins, since iOS is responsible for 84% of total revenue (a ton of that being ads). Thus, when streaming games are only available on Chrome, Chromecast and (to our knowledge) on Android devices, there is a huge market of iOS mobile players that could be left out.
What will these players do on mobile? They will continue to play, from simple match 3 to console quality 3D games on their phones, and will be satisfied. For these and other consumers, mobile gaming will remain the primary gaming experience on the road. Console and PC players form a diverse group, but they do not even represent a fraction of the diversity of mobile players.
It was not so long ago, some predicted that the mobile would be the end of the traditional game (console and PC). They were wrong. Now, with Stadia, it's a little the opposite. I'm really excited to see where Google takes Stadia. They certainly have the money to solve most infrastructure issues, and the controller alone shows that they think outside the box to solve the traditional problems of streaming game services. They do not come after mobile games though. The console, PC and mobile will continue to coexist, and this is the kind of future game-rich developers that should be ready to fall behind.
David Pokress is the Executive Vice President of Global Publishing, Partnerships and Account Management at AdColony.