So for anyone who follows the Cloud Gaming scene, there has been news floating around that Google has released its first games list for when Stadia becomes available for Founders (people who paid for early access to the service) this November. You can find the official record on their website.
The initial launch list is:
- Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
- Destiny 2: The Collection
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Just Dance 2020
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
While 14 other titles are due to release after Stadia’s initial launch.
When I first came upon this list, my initial reaction was one of elation. “Sweet, Mortal Kombat, RDR2, Assassin’s Creed! Where do I sign up?” I mean, after all, the service makes it available to any device that has access to the Chrome Browser. Or at least, that’s what the about page for the service says. For a project of this scale, with as big a company that Google is, this seems like it’ll be a blazing success, right?
Well, let’s look at the list again. Some of these titles seem like odd choices. For me, both Mortal Kombat 11 and Just Dance were the odd ducks. I mean, these are titles that require exact timings, where if you’re off by a couple of seconds, you could lose an otherwise perfect run in Just Dance, or have an entire fight ruined in Mortal Kombat. Why would Google choose these games that require exact timings, when this is a service that heavily depends on your internet bandwidth (heck, Google’s About page for Stadia recommends a steady 10 Mbps connection for 720p, 60FPS Stereo quality gameplay)?
This where I find a problem. Google is taking a massive risk with their platform by having these games as launch titles. Games like Mortal Kombat and Just Dance are two examples of games where timing is everything. One false move and your experience could be ruined. For a service that requires a stable internet connection, in an era where that is spotty at best, these titles will not do the service justice.
What do I mean by all of this? Well, the success or failure of cloud gaming as a platform will be an example for those that follow. Google is going to be the company that could put Game Streaming on the map as a platform, or it can crush the prospect in one sweeping motion.
With its glaring issues (uncertainty of their streaming technology, bandwidth requirements), my faith dampens. I can only hope for the best. After all, the platform has everything to gain (or lose) from this launch.
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