The punchline of today’s Stadia Connect stream is that Google tried to sell us on its vision of a game streaming future with a pre-recorded YouTube broadcast that had more macroblocking than a Minecraft map. The broadcast – fronted by former PlayStation executive Phil Harrison in a shirt and sneakers – failed to cash in on enthusiasm surrounding the tech giant’s initial unveiling, suggesting that this service is going to take a while to establish itself.
Maybe the organisation expects a slow start, but it’s hard to imagine a launch slate less compelling than what it’s cooked up. The games are fine – except they’re virtually all available on the PlayStation 4 anyway. The free copy of Destiny 2 that the search engine firm’s promised with Founders Edition pre-orders would be fine if a free-to-play version wasn’t already planned for consoles, although it admittedly does come with every piece of DLC so far – every cloud and all that, if you’ll excuse the pun.
But how many people are out there, champing at the bit to play Bungie’s shared world shooter, but unwilling to purchase a console? Who is this actually aimed at in the near-term? Google doesn’t seem to know itself: there’s a subscription fee for the “best” experience, but you still have to buy individual games on top. Amusingly, it’s advertising the lower-tier Stadia Base – which caps out at 1080p – as a “free” experience, but all of the software is still sold separately.
The bottom line is that Sony will sleep well tonight. PlayStation Now, with its 700 or so included titles, is already a much more compelling option – and it’s a supplementary one, merely giving consumers an additional choice. Google’s technology may be superior, and it may be laying the foundations for a battle that’s yet to really begin – but Stadia, as it stands right now, sounds like little more than a wet fart from a company that loves nothing more than seeing what sh*t sticks.
Are you as underwhelmed by Google Stadia's launch slate as we are? Do you think Sony should be worried about its new competitor? Lag like you mean it in the comments section below.