Google just announced Stadia, its new streaming platform for playing video games. In a lot of ways, this could be our first real look at a next-gen console -- except it's not actually a console. The gist of it is that with Stadia, you'll be able to play full games, like Assassin's Creed Odyssey, immediately through the power of streaming, on any Google-supported device at any time, as long as you have an internet connection. It's pretty much what a lot of people were expecting, but make no mistake: Stadia could end up being a direct PlayStation competitor.
It's been a long, long time since a company anywhere near as big as Google entered the video games market in such a way. Microsoft was the last to do it successfully with the original Xbox, and with Stadia set to launch this year, we're looking at an exciting time for the industry as a whole.
Google's showing was impressive, there's no doubt about that, but much of it felt hypothetical. The company certainly talked the talk, but right now, in 2019, it's difficult to say whether Stadia will meet the high standards presented on stage. Google went on and on about high resolutions, frame rates, and the limitless power of the cloud (where have we heard that one before?), but ultimately, streaming is streaming. A lot of Stadia's success is going to rely upon stable, fast internet connections, and that's something that a lot of people still don't have access to.
Sony will be taking a long, hard look at Stadia. If Google can pull it off, its introduction and potential evolution could change the gaming sphere as we know it, but at the moment, especially without any pricing details, that's a big if.