Google has recently dropped some new juicy info.
We now know a little bit more about what this platform will bring to the world of gaming. So in this blog post, we try our best to answer some of those all-important questions: Does Stadia have what it takes to really shake up the gaming industry? What do we know so far? And what does this mean for mobile game developers?
So, what do we know so far?
Since March 2019 (when they first announced Google Stadia), a lot of us have been left in the dark into what is to come with this new service. Thankfully, there’s been a few updates since:
Google Stadia will only be available on the Google Pixel
Sorry Apple (and pretty much every other mobile provider), but Google has announced that they plan on only launching on the Google Pixel, to start off. On top of that, Stadia won’t actually be playable on tablets, at least for the foreseeable future. They explicitly stated that they intend to make this so, and for an undetermined time. But this limits the device-switching, cloud-based kind of image that the platform created for itself, in initial reports.It's now confirmed that #GoogleStadia will only be available on the Google Pixel. Find out what this means to mobile #gamedevs in this post. Click To Tweet
However, users of tablets that use Chrome OS are in luck, as Google intends to extend access to these and “more devices” in the future, but as a survey, from last year found a fraction of the global tablet market actually uses Chrome in some shape or form. Apple iPads are much more dominant, but there’s no sign that the platform intends to allow Apple users to join in anytime soon.
There will be a base level tier and pro-level tier
You guessed it, Google Stadia will be a subscription-based service. The Pro-Level subscription starts off at around $10 per month (£8.99 in the UK), and in this subscription, you’ll get access to a portfolio of games and higher streaming rates.
However, this may not appeal to everyone. The rise of subscriptions is somewhat overwhelming. To counter this, Google has introduced the ‘base level’. A free-of-charge subscription, with individual games purchased for an additional one-off cost.
31 games have been announced, so far
In its initial announcement phase, Stadia had a small number of titles to showcase. Since its more substantial June announcement, Google has unveiled a far lengthier list of titles for gamers to have a go at.
Stadia aims to have one of the most enticing libraries upon launch date for any platform, but we’ve yet to see the final number of titles confirmed. But, as of now, it sits at about 31, but this could change a great deal by November.
It’s not cheap
In summary, these are the costs for the different bits and bobs that go into a potential Google Stadia gaming experience:
- Controllers are marketed at $69
- Stadia Pro option costs $9.99 to stream 4K 60fps content per month
- To get it working on the TV, users might require a Chromecast Ultra, which costs $70
- Some games will be free, others may come with discounts
- Ubisoft announced a $14.99 per month game service for Stadia by 2020
The decade-long cost of a Stadia Pro subscription would be equivalent to about $1,200. However, if a consumer were to spend on an Xbox Live Gold subscription, they would only have to pay $600 over the same period.
And there’s no offline option
You’ve probably heard the news. Google Stadia is purely a streaming service, so you’ll always need internet access. But are we ready for a service like this?
In a perfect world, you would develop your game with no obstacles preventing your desired audience from playing it. But by basing its very existence on the cloud, Stadia risks becoming inaccessible to a large audience, unless fast internet connectivity becomes more widespread.By basing its very existence on the cloud, #GoogleStadia risks becoming inaccessible to a large audience, unless fast internet connectivity becomes more widespread. Click To Tweet
Latency could pose a serious problem for Stadia users, but Google has tried to put mechanisms in place to handle bad connections. In the event of heavy lagging, Stadia has in-built tools that scale down resolution. Unfortunately, if you use a below-average bandwidth speed, you would have to reconsider what kind of connection you use, as Stadia is only able to stream as fast as your bandwidth will allow.
- The UK is among one of the most connected countries in Europe – 95% of people are identified as regular internet users
- The UK’s average broadband speed is roughly 33.64Mbps
So far, so good. To operate, Stadia would require the following bandwidths:
- 10Mbps to stream 720p 60fps Stereo content
- 20Mps for 1080p HDR Video 60fps 5.1 Surround Sound content
- 35Mbps for 4K HDR Video 60fps 5.1 Surround Sound content
As a consequence, a large proportion of gamers might miss out on optimal-quality 4K content by a narrow margin (if only it was just that bit higher!). But for the large part, 720p and 1080p content should be easily-streamed, assuming that most gamers have access to bandwidth in-line with the national average.
And what does Google Stadia mean for mobile game developers?
A lot is changing in the gaming industry, and keeping up with it all can be a bit of a challenge. But from what we can see to date, you can expect this:
Your games should be safe, for the moment
As mentioned above, Google Stadia will only be available on Pixel devices, and not tablets. Although this may change in the future, that’s still a big chunk of gamers that won’t have access to their product.
On top of this, the selection of games that will be available on Stadia is mainly first-person shooters. What about puzzle games? Match 3 titles? Even simple addicting free-to-play games have not yet been announced for Stadia. This is a big audience that they’ll be missing out on, so you don’t need to sweat just yet.
Focus your attention on Ad Revenue
There’s only so much money in the world, right? And with more and more products and subscriptions coming out (Netflix, Disney+, Google Stadia, Apple Arcade, Amazon Prime and NowTV – to name a few), consumers are going to find themselves overwhelmed with choice, and out of pocket.
So, there will likely be a rise in the loved free-to-play mobile games. Those games that you can play in short sessions, don’t need to pay for, and can quickly pick up during your 20-minute train commute to work.
To be completely honest, those who do use their mobile phones for gaming will always expect ads in their free-to-play games. And with more and more services asking for their hard-earned cash, we can expect a rise in this genre.
And you’ll need to be more creative
There’s a ton more competition out there now. You’re not just competing with other games. You’re competing against everyone.
So, what can you do? Keep creating games that break the mold. The sky’s the limit. Focus on something you love and are passionate about, and share it with the world. Here’s a few resources that’ll give you a headstart, and some more information about Google Stadia:
- Apple Arcade: What Does This Mean For Mobile Game Developers
- “Moving to the cloud is scary”, Google Stadia director says deflecting shutdown concerns
- Time-Saving Tools For Mobile Game Developers
- How To Create “Hyper-Snackable” Casual Games
- Finding Our Hyper-Casual Niche – Lessons From Platonic Games