The nature of cloud gaming means that any internet-enabled device which can load up Google Chrome can also be used to stream ultra-high-definition games. The Google Stadia Gaming Platform was designed specifically to remove the need for expensive consoles and GPUs and is thusly proud of its ability to stream games on any mobile or desktop device. As such, an obvious question must be asked: will the release of the Google Stadia Gaming Platform herald the end of mobile gaming as we know it?
Google Stadia Gaming Platform’s Limitations
With many traditional mobile games, an internet connection is not required to play, however a high speed internet connection is required to run and play games on the Google Stadia Gaming Platform, which will limit where it can be used. It’s all well and good offering a gaming service that can be run anywhere, on any device, and at any time, but this simply isn’t going to be the case. A 2016 study suggested that only 47% of the world’s population has access to and uses the internet, and only 74.6% of the US population use the internet. Furthermore, it is estimated that as much as 20% of the US still doesn’t get reliable 4G data, even with the rollout of 5G on the cards.
Evidently, if you find yourself in one of those areas where data isn’t quite as fast, you’ll probably find that game streaming doesn’t cause the end of mobile gaming. There is also the concern that the Google Stadia gaming platform will use up a lot of mobile data, and for those on limited mobile plans, it’s probably better to steer clear from Stadia until you get home (or find a free WiFi point).
Playing PC Titles on Mobile
If you’ve ever tried the Playstation Now, you’ll probably have realised that—no matter what the game developers try—a PC optimised game simply won’t run as well on a mobile device. Period. Whilst the Google Stadia gaming platform controller should play its part in easing this transition and making the games still playable and enjoyable on mobile, if you’re after a quick game whilst waiting in line for your Starbucks, traditional games may be better and the end of mobile gaming may not be in your sights.
By contrast, though, if you’re waiting for hours on the tube, the Google Stadia gaming platform with the accompanying wireless controller could well be the way to go!
So, Is This The End of Mobile Gaming?
In a word, no. Whilst the Google Stadia gaming platform will, most likely, take away some of the customers from the mobile gaming industry, it won’t be the end of mobile gaming as we know it.
It seems likely that the somewhat awkward gameplay (when attempted without a controller) and the requirements for high speed internet connection will probably mean that traditional puzzle and strategy games and other such mobile titles will live on in the realm of casual gaming.
It should also be noted that, naturally, Stadia is not going to be a free service. Whilst we don’t know the specifics in regards to costing yet (you can find our full analysis for the Google Stadia gaming platform’s price here), it is widely believed among the gaming community that Google will be charging a subscription fee for the service—in line with Sony’s PS Now—of somewhere in the region of $20 per month. Whilst existing console gamers may be willing to pay that money, and it could represent a large saving for these individuals over buying games and consoles, current mobile-only gamers are very unlikely to take the plunge in large numbers.
There is definitely a market for the bigger titles on-the-go for longer commutes and journeys, and it is likely that this is where Stadia will truly shine when it comes to mobile gaming. However, at least from what we know so far, Stadia won’t be the cause for the end of mobile gaming; it may do a little damage, but on the whole, both niches will probably go their separate ways.