As if the concerns about playing games over internet wasn’t already enough, Google recently confirmed that the games you purchase on Stadia aren’t yours to keep.
Google Stadia isn’t going to be the Netflix of gaming we all hoped that it would be, instead the product Google is offering is looking less and less like an appealing offer.
In a Reddit AMA with Google Stadia’s Product Director Andrey Doronichev, Reddit user u/InitialLingonberry asked what would happen to games purchased from Stadia. Many have had growing concerns about the lifespan of Stadia and whether or not purchases made on the service are really worth the risk. Doronichev didn’t really have a lot to say to defend Stadia, comparing moving into cloud based gaming to CDs moving to streaming.
Doronichev didn’t specify any sort of EoL guarantee with Stadia, he also didn’t mention any reason why people should trust Stadia.
One thing Google doesn’t seem to understand is that the service they are offering isn’t a good value compared to any of its competitors.
To join Google Stadia you’ll have to pay $9.99/month, but that only starts in 2020. To get access to Stadia at its initial 2019 launch you’ll have to pony up and purchase the Founder’s Edition which costs $129.
One aspect that Google claims will makes their service worth it though is the games. Google says it will offer “roughly one free game per month, give or take.”
This framing really doesn’t do much good for Stadia when you look at the fact that Xbox and PlayStation both offer multiple free games per month.
Add on top of this the fact that you don’t get to keep a single one of your games if Google Stadia fails, then there’s a lot of questions to be had about why anyone should buy into Google Stadia.
And don’t think games will be cheaper on Google Stadia since they aren’t yours to keep either.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Stadia Chief Phil Harrisoon said that there won’t be any sort of discount for games on Stadia.
“I don’t know why it would be cheaper. The value you get from the game on Stadia means you can play it on any screen in your life – TV, PC, laptop, tablet, phone. I think that is going to be valuable to players.”
On top of all these issues is the data caps internet service providers have forced onto consumers. Most people have a 1 Terabyte data cap, and at 720p 60FPS (which current-gen consoles already run games at and above) you would run out of data after only 113 hours of gaming. This also doesn’t include the fact the you use your home’s internet for more than just playing games, so if you use internet at all elsewhere in your house it has to be subtracted from the 113 hours.
Phil Harrison also spoke on the issue of in-home data caps, but according to him internet service providers are always looking out for the consumer.
“The ISPs have a strong history of staying ahead of consumer trend and if you look at the history of data caps in those small number of markets–and it’s actually a relatively small number of markets that have [data caps]–the trend over time, when music streaming and download became popular, especially in the early days when it was not necessarily legitimate, data caps moved up. Then with the evolution of TV and film streaming, data caps moved up, and we expect that will continue to be the case.”
Of course, anyone who has had the pleasure of dealing with ISPs knows just how ignorant and frustrating of an answer this is when referring to ISP service.
Regardless of how anyone feels about it though, Google Stadia is coming this November. Whether or not they can pull out an ace up their sleeve to show us the real value of Stadia is still in question.