Before games were saved on discs, they were stored on bulky cartridges. I’m sure we all remember those days. Since then, the gaming industry has evolved and reinvented itself over and over—and now, with the rise of cloud gaming (and the immense success of television streaming services), gaming may stand to take a revolutionarily different route forward.
A new generation of cloud gaming is on the horizon, despite the next-gen consoles being hyped for release in early 2020. Now that both Google and Microsoft have jumped on the cloud-streaming bandwagon, with Sony having taken the plunge five years ago, it is looking increasingly likely that the future of gaming could be vastly different, and disc-based consoles may be a thing of the past.
So, in the “Stadia versus xCloud versus Ps Now” debate, which cloud streaming service is expected to come out on top?
Google Stadia vs PlayStation Now
Sony’s PS Now has been on the market since 2014, giving it quite the leg up in terms of exposure when compared to Stadia, which is believed to be released later on this year (probably in the fall).
At just shy of $20 per month for PlayStation owners, the PS Now is good value when compared to buying a high rated video game (which can be charged at approximately $60—that’s a three months’ subscription). However, this really depends on how much a person games; for those who only splash out and buy a game once a year, for example, the Now subscription doesn’t represent much of a saving.
As for Stadia’s pricing, we currently know very little. The consensus thus far among he gaming community is that a similar model to the PS Now is likely, and people are expecting to pay roughly the same fee as well.
The game database for Sony’s PS Now is currently fairly reasonably sized, with over 600 names on offer. However, this may seem somewhat more generous than it actually is; the vast majority of these titles are the classics, going right back to the days of the PS2. As such, the Now package has received fair doses of criticism for being little more than a nostalgia trigger. Don’t get me wrong, I love the old models and games—but I’m not sure they’re really worth $240 a year.
At present, though, Sony’s database of games absolutely pulverisers Google’s official offering, which numbers in the single digits thus far. Ouch. That said, there has been a fair amount of interest from a number of the big game development companies, with the most notable being Ubisoft, so if Stadia can make true of its claims then its collection of titles could be far superior.
One further point that should be considered is Stadia’s new and innovative State Share technology—something which only Google, as the owners of YouTube, can offer. The feature will allow players to hop into the action directly from YouTube live streams and join their favourite gamers! This is something which both Sony and Microsoft cannot match.
Google Stadia vs xCloud
From what we understand so far, Microsoft is taking a slightly different approach to cloud gaming than Google and Sony with their as-of-yet unreleased xCloud project. They are rumoured to be intending for the xCloud to be used in conjunction with their newest next-gem console, the Xbox 2 / Xbox Scarlett, to create a device which was described as “a cloud console” by AMD.
The xCloud software is said to be functional on mobile smartphones and tablet devices. It is widely believed that the xCloud will be focusing on providing a service for the portable gaming niche, differing from the PS Now (which runs on Laptop and desktop devices).
In regards to Stadia, we are currently not completely sure of what Google’s aim is for the mobile market. We know that Stadia will be playable both on desktops/laptops and on smartphones, but we are only aware of it being capable of running on Pixel mobiles so far (Google’s take on the smartphone). Those who have another make of mobile—iOS or Android, for example—will just have to cross their fingers and pray that Google will release versions on their relevant servers as well.
The main point of excitement for the xCloud is the availability of games. Since it is designed to be run alongside the Xbox 2, it is likely that most—if not all—Xbox 2 games will be playable on the xCloud, as well as those titles available on older Xbox consoles.
As was the case with the PlayStation, Stadia’s current games list just cannot compete with the potential that is to be expected from the xCloud. Again, however, we are expecting to see many more titles being released over the coming months for use on Stadia after all of the initial hype.