Game Streaming Lowers the Barriers
Google announced their game streaming platform, Stadia, today and it feels like a look at the future. Game streaming has been touted as the future of video games for several years now and there are already existing services but Google's feels different.
There are several unique advantages Google has here. They already have a global base of data centres for this service to run as close to users as possible. They've dominated online video streaming and have a huge portion of the game streaming market already. It's a natural fit for their expertise.
What makes it feel like the future the most, is the lack of a barrier to entry. Google intends to make it available through their browser (the most popular), Chromecasts (super popular), Android (the most popular OS), and probably more devices in the future. But with just their own platforms they can make this service available to a huge global market on devices of every price range.
The gaming industry is already massive but there are still barriers to entry. Whenever a barrier has been removed the market has grown as a result. When going to an arcade was required the market was limited to those who had the time and a strong desire to play games. Home consoles made games available to those who could afford them and had enough interest to purchase one. Mobile games made video games available to everyone with a phone (which is almost everyone) and now you see people of all ages playing video games on their smartphone.
But most mobile games are the equivalent of fast food to traditional games. They're quick, cheap, and fun but they rarely push boundaries. The games that do and provide deeper experiences are still limited to those who own a console or gaming PC. Google's Stadia can change that.
Those expansive and story-driven games will now be available to anyone who can pay the monthly fee. There's no special hardware required and you can cancel whenever you like. Games have long sought to be considered art but when the best experiences are limited to those willing to invest hundreds of dollars into a console, it's understandable that many haven't seen their full potential. Game streaming makes experiencing a AAA game as easy as a Netflix trial. If it works, we could see the video game market grow even bigger.