In the fall of this year, Google will be entering the home console gaming arena with the cloud streaming platform Stadia. Video games are served up in one of two main ways: By accessing a library of games with the Stadia Plus subscription or by purchasing games individually. Regarding the latter, Google Stadia Chief Phil Harrison shared with Eurogamer that games purchased on Stadia will cost just as much as games purchased on home consoles or other platforms.
The publication’s reporter asked about the cost of games on Google Stadia and Harrison responded “I don’t know why it would be cheaper,” which led to a question about how Stadia justifies charging full-price for a game that can only be streamed.
Depending on the user’s internet connection, Google Stadia will be supplying gamers with games performing at a high level and with all of the features available on other platforms. One significant difference, though, is that the games will only be streamed when purchased through Stadia and there’s no option to download your purchase. This changes the value of that purchase but Harrison suggests there’s added value in the fact that the game can be played on any screen. While true that Stadia will be able to work on a variety of screens, even the value of that has to be weighed against the reality that you won’t be able to play any titles without an internet connection.
“The industry is in transition,” Harrison told Eurogamer. “Not every developer and publisher is ready to move to subscription yet. Frankly, not every gamer is ready to move to subscription yet. So we wanted to give gamers a choice so they could engage in the games they wanted in the way they wanted — and in all cases, without the very high upfront cost of buying a sophisticated device to put under their TV or on their desk.”
Stadia isn’t the only cloud streaming platform on the market and, when next-gen home consoles come around, Sony and Microsoft will be pushing their own cloud gaming competitors. The two gaming companies have a major leg up, though, because they have the physical console to pair with the full-price purchase of a game. Eliminating the need for the console is Google’s aim with Stadia, though, so it’s possible that the platform will tap into an audience that doesn’t mind paying full price for a game that can only be streamed.
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