PS5 Vs Next Xbox Vs Stadia: What To Expect In A Post-Google World

Google's Stadia game streaming could mean the end of video game consoles as we know them
Google's Stadia game streaming could mean the end of video game consoles as we know them Google

Google has announced that the tech giant is getting into the game industry with Stadia, a game streaming platform that could mean the death of game consoles as we know them. While we still have plenty of questions about Stadia, here’s what the streaming platform means for the next generation of consoles.

What Is Stadia?

First off, what is this whole Stadia thing? Stadia is a streaming platform from Google that allows users to play console-quality games basically wherever there’s an internet connection. This means players can jump from their phones to a laptop to a TV via Chromecast, all with the same game. The only hardware Stadia uses is a new controller from Google that has built-in wifi.

So how does it work? Stadia has games running on powerful servers that players can access. This means people technically don’t own games anymore, instead accessing them like any video on Netflix. Simply click on the game, and you should be playing within seconds.

We don’t have all the answers about Stadia just yet, like pricing plans and games available at launch. We don’t even know when it will actually be available to use. We do know Stadia is reported to be more powerful than a PS4 Pro and Xbox One X combined, meaning players theoretically can play games with higher-quality graphics than any console available today.

Stadia vs. PS5 vs. Next Xbox

With a console that provides powerful graphics virtually anywhere with an internet connection, where does that leave PS5 and whatever the next Xbox console will be called? From the rumors swirling around Microsoft, it sounds like the next Xbox might be following right behind Stadia. Microsoft’s xCloud streaming tech has been mentioned in the past, and could mean a new game streaming option.

Rumors have pointed to Xbox bringing game streaming off its consoles as well, with the Switch as a potential new home for streamed Xbox games in the future. Microsoft also could adapt the tech to look something like Stadia, with streaming supported through the Microsoft Edge browser instead of Chrome. Additionally, Microsoft already offers a game subscription service with Xbox Games Pass. If that was included with game streaming, Microsoft’s line-up of titles could put it ahead of the competition.

But what about Sony? The company seems like it is dabbling in game streaming, but no major rumors have surfaced just yet. The PS5 could potentially position itself in a unique way of being an offline-capable device, not reliant on game streaming at all. In an age of disappearing ownership of games, that could be enough to stand apart from the competition.

This also raises questions about hardware and internet capabilities. If Microsoft does go all-in on a streaming future, the next Xbox console needs to be relatively inexpensive to compete with Stadia’s “all you need is a controller” approach. The next consoles, if capable of running games without streaming, also need to be powerful enough to keep up.

It seems likely players will need a reliable and strong internet connection to make streaming games possible. This could be a major deterrent for many people, especially those in rural areas. Weaker internet connections could be an advantage for traditional consoles, despite current consoles already relying heavily on internet connections for updates and gameplay.

Game Ownership

Another major point, as mentioned above, is game ownership. Games are quickly moving beyond physical products with the rise of digital stores. Games are also in a steady march towards online-only experiences. What happens when a game’s servers are shut off? The game effectively ceases to exist, regardless if you have a physical game disc or not.

The Stadia takes game ownership completely out of the question. You may have bought access to a game, but you don’t own anything. You can play the game until a publisher decides you can’t play it anymore, be it through server shutdowns or otherwise.

PS5 and the Next Xbox could still offer gamers the ability to own a product and play it whenever they want. Of course, this only goes for offline games, so even things like Destiny 2 or Anthem would still fall victim to game ownership.

What about Nintendo?

Nintendo is in an interesting position, thanks to the extreme popularity of its characters and game franchises. Mario , Mario Kart , Zelda and the rest are global brands, and even one game in the franchise can get people excited enough to buy an entire console. As long as Nintendo keeps making quality games, the company’s consoles will continue to sell.

Nintendo has also traditionally been behind the curve when it comes to technical innovation. The Big N has struggled with online multiplayer in the past, and has made a bit of a mess in regards to account creation. The Switch seems to have cleared up a lot of these online issues, but there are still plenty of weird quirks like needing a cell phone running an app to support voice chat in games. I don’t think game streaming will come to Nintendo any time soon, and the company will likely still be successful regardless.

As of right now, there are too many unknowns to really make a definitive claim about streaming and the future of video game consoles. We don’t even know how well game streaming works! That said, Google’s Stadia announcement has definitely caught the attention of gamers, so we’ll see how Microsoft and Sony respond.

So what do you think? Do you believe the Stadia announcement will force Sony or Microsoft to change their approach to the next generation of consoles? Do you think game streaming is the future of video games, or just a trend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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