Google Stadia’s launch is right around the corner, set for November 19, but things already appear a bit underwhelming. That’s on account of the slow arrival of hardware for customers who pre-ordered and the meager Stadia launch lineup of games.
Gwen Frey, developer of Kine, admits she’s not aware of plans by Google for the future of the service, but she believes it has more potential than just streaming games to compete with Xbox and PlayStation. Digital Trends asked how she thinks, and hopes, Stadia will evolve.
“In the immediate, Stadia is targeting gaming and the potential in that market,” she said, “but I do think that software streaming has potential benefits that go far beyond video games. If you boil down what a service like Stadia is to its core then it is this: There is software that is running on a server in the cloud.”
Frey sees this opening the door for more seamless computing between devices, and on the go. Just as you can switch from playing Stadia on a computer to a phone in an instant, you could theoretically do this with any computing tasks.
“What if instead of having applications in windows, all of my software was running in tabs on Chrome. What if I could seamlessly click a button and have those same tabs from my work PC on my phone while I’m in transit, and then click a button again, and have those same tabs in Chrome open on my home PC?” Frey speculated.
If Google is intentionally rolling Stadia out slow, it could be to feel out what potential Stadia has to offer beyond gaming. We’ve already seen how Google Stadia plans to offer new ways to encourage community engagement by letting players jump straight into games that are being streamed live, and enabled shared saves that let players all start from the same point.
A rough start anticipated
At the start, Stadia will only have 12 titles available. Frey’s musical puzzle game, Kine, is one of them. Recent Tomb Raider games comprise three of the other games available. Another 14 are expected before the end of the year.
This launch may seem weak to gamers and industry critics. With the expense of a Founder’s Edition pushing toward the price of a new game console, it doesn’t stand up as a strong offering against the Xbox One and PS4.
On that point, Frey expressed concerns in an interview with Gameindustry.biz. “I’m not sure it will have a super-strong launch initially,” Frey said, “but I don’t even think they want to have a super-strong launch.”
Frey believes that Google may intentionally be rolling the service out slowly. That would be to let Google scale the service more gradually, which would be in contrast to the sudden, massive influxes of users seen by huge online games like Destiny or Call of Duty.
For some, that slow launch can lead to concern that Google may pull the plug on this project as it has on many others. “The biggest complaint most developers have with Stadia is the fear is Google is just going to cancel it,” Frey said. She acknowledges there’s plenty of failure in tech, and even Google has “canceled a lot of projects.”
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