For those of you who don’t know yet, Google Stadia is a project by the titular company to bring video games to the next level; a system where you stream games in their entirety. The data for the game itself is kept in a massive Google server. The processing power needed to run it is kept remotely, meaning you can play any game on any device, without having to download it. This understandably sounds pretty far-fetched. The ability to play massive, demanding games typically reserved for a gaming PC on your phone, and without having to download it? It sounds like science fiction, but with Google’s massive resources, both financial and technological, it can be done.
Naturally, Google Stadia has made your usual game publishing folks uneasy. After all, why buy a PlayStation or an Xbox, or any of their related games, when you can play all the game Google Stadia has to offer on whatever device you have? In fact, Google Stadia has Sony and Microsoft sweating so much that the arch nemeses are doing the unthinkable; teaming up to strike first.
PlayStation Now is combined with Microsoft Azure. The two companies have signed a memorandum stating that both companies will “explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. Sony will even be using Azure’s data center solutions to better improve its own services.
For reference, Microsoft Azure launched in 2010 and is Microsoft’s cloud computing software and data management service. Now that Sony has teamed up and joined the ranks, this could be potentially bad news for Amazon Web Services, which is the current main competitor in this market. However, it’s obvious that this move is primarily a preemptive one made to prepare both companies for the arrival of Google in their market.
The fact that these two amicable yet bitter rivals have come together is a testament to how dangerous Google Stadia is perceived to be, at least to the profit of their company. After all, you could expect console sales to drop pretty readily when your phone can play nearly any game you want in high definition and 60 FPS with the click of a hyperlink. While PlayStation already has a game streaming service of its own and Xbox has GamePass, which lets you download a large library of games, both of these naturally require possession of an Xbox or a PlayStation.
That said, whether or not Google Stadia has the effect on the gaming industry everyone fears remains to be seen. After all, streaming games on any device is only good if the games are good. But game developers could flock en masse to Google’s side if they could get the opportunity to create games with next to no limitations before Microsoft and Sony offer the same thing. Ultimately, we can only wait and see if this partnership between the two gaming giants will bear fruit.
The new service dubbed xCloud is said to be available for public testing this October.