How Will Google Overcome Stadia’s Biggest Obstacle?
The problem with a gaming platform that totally relies on internet is that is that it relies on internet only. Stadia, Google’s new streaming game platform, it will require that users have a strong internet connection to work, that’s a big problem. “It’s what that creates game streaming problem from the beginning,” said by Pat Moorhead, Principal Analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. A game streaming service simply can’t work if there’s lag. IN USA, there’s a lot of lag.
Sitting in the room for announcement in San Francisco, just a few rows behind big names in gaming like Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot and AMD,s Lisa Su. I found many people struggling to connect the internet so they could report on Stadia. There were hundreds of people packed into the room, and the GDC wifi had slowed too much like a crawl. Even when I switched over to my hotspot and plugged directly in, I struggled to get atleast 1Mbps download speed. Here we were at one of the most connected conferences in one of the most connected cities and I couldn’t even send a Slack message. Forget streaming a game like google gamely did on stage.
My colleagues back in New York only faired a little better. Sure they had 80 Mbps download speeds, but google couldn’t seem to stream the damn announcement well. From time to time it hiccupped and trapped, as streams often do. It was an announcement all about how google is streaming and how it was failing to stream.
Google and GDC were having and internet connectivity issue. The United States has an even bigger one. In Akamai’s most recent state of the internet report back in 2017, it claimed only one in five households in US could get 25 Mb download speed. The average speed of US internet is 18.7 Mb. “25 Mbps is higher than the average household has”, Akamai’s Nelson Rodriguez told me.
That speed of 25 Mb is what google told Gizmodo it expects Stadia to require for 4K and 60fps quality games. That means only one in five households will get Stadia,s pretty picture. Google might have mocked the idea of waiting for games to download to play in yesterday’s keynote, but it seems to have forgotten that the benefit of a game stored locally is that it works no matter the lag. And then there’s the multiplayer problem. Games like Apex Legends etc are super popular but already frequently victim to less than stellar internet. A blip in a person’s internet is currently the difference between life or death at the hand of 13 year old across the country.