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Google Stadia looks interesting, but who exactly is it for?

Seriously, who is this meant for?

Google stadia on tv, tablets, more
Image: Google

Yesterday’s Google Stadia announcements were pretty interesting considering that Google’s first foray in the home gaming market has the potential to make a splash.

With some big games on board like the Destiny 2 Collection, Doom 2016, Final Fantasy XV, and many others, Google’s leap into the deep end of the gaming pool has people talking, but it does beg the question – just who the hell is this for?

Google Stadia, in many ways, is the heir apparent to 2010s failed service, OnLive

If you are unfamiliar with OnLive, it was a nifty little device you could purchase that would let you play an online library of games at the push of the button, streamed directly to your device or phone. It was fairly neat, but despite having really good internet at the time, it was far from perfect. Sometimes the quality dropped off fairly hard and latency was anywhere from passable to downright unplayable.

OnLive was ultimately a solid idea that was about 10 years ahead of its time. It really did operate like the Netflix of games and I can remember playing Homefront on it at launch. It’s how I set up my first Ubisoft account to play a Red Faction game and I remember going to a 4th of July parade and playing Lego Batman while we waited. Google Stadia seems to be the realization of this platform at the right time.

The thing with Google Stadia is that everything that is being offered is already available in one way for another. It’s fairly absurd to think that there are many people out there with 35 Mbps internet or higher that doesn’t already have a baller PC and/or all of the consoles of their choosing. When Google set up the streamable Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, it looked pretty spot on to my PS4 copy, but didn’t run nearly as smooth when capped out on my PC.

Almost every single game the Stadia will have on its November 15th launch is something we’ve either had for years or is generally played on PC

Final Fantasy XV, for example, is a game that is already a handful of years old. Will it include the much-needed DLC that clarifies the game’s story? Will the latency allow for decent inputs during combat and platforming? The same goes for Doom 2016. It’s an awesome game, but anyone with a passing interest in the title has already played it at this point. It also requires you to be fairly quick on the trigger.

The Destiny 2 Collection is an interesting addition that sounds intriguing to play on a mobile device, but only Joe has a Pixel 3. Will my more powerful Note9 be oddly incompatible? How about Mortal Kombat 11? Can you actually play against others online or even the computer without throwing that special edition controller at a wall because of unresponsive controls? Will Stadia be able to keep up against a combined Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony front?

Google Stadia seems quite accessible but doesn’t currently seem like a solution for anyone that owns a console or PC currently

To further clarify, Google’s Stadia solution doesn’t seem to offer a solution to a problem that many gamers currently have. I can see this change fairly quickly if Google starts bartering deals with software publishers for some form of early exclusivity. If we start seeing Epic Games Store type deals coming to the Google Stadia, it would force the issue a good bit. I’m a big believer in competition but it worries me to think you’d have to throw down on a monthly subscription to be able to play the newest, hottest title.

That brings up another concern about the Stadia. What happens when you want to cancel your subscription? Games you “own” will be playable in lower resolutions and the Netflix-style offerings will be gone completely. Will you lose saves and progress? With the lower resolution offerings, will the latency also be an issue? There are a lot of questions that don’t seem to have answers yet.

If the Google Stadia isn’t for avid gamers, not for PC gamers, not for those that already own home consoles and honestly not for those looking to save money, then who is it for? Is it for that casual mobile phone gamer that is looking to move into something more robust? Possibly, providing they pay for good internet. Is it for the household for more than one gamer with only limited consoles? Maybe, providing cross-play is a thing and it works decently.

I’m sure Google already has a well-developed demographic because they know everything about everyone already, but still, this is mind-boggling.

Hey, 4k 60fps gaming though…

Do you think the Google Stadia is for you? Have you figured out the demographic here? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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