Google Stadia
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 20: Attendees play games on the new Stadia gaming platform at the Google booth at the 2019 GDC Game Developers Conference on March 20, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The GDC runs through March 22. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

By CCN MarketsGoogle Stadia will be the first open challenger to dominant Sony or Microsoft in years. Nintendo has always continued in the fringes, ever since its highs in the era of $70 Nintendo 64 games, while Microsoft and Sony have unwittingly built the modern gaming world’s online architecture.

The race for the console is on

Both have online services. For Microsoft, this alone is a core source of revenue; everyone who plays online pays a small monthly fee. PlayStation Network is different; Sony doesn’t charge merely for access. They recently announced that they’re partnering with Microsoft to extend services for a streaming platform in an upcoming release.

Google Stadia cuts straight through to that, charging $9.99 per month. To get involved at launch time in late 2019, you’ll have to buy a limited edition set of hardware for $129.99. The equipment includes everything you’ll need to run the games.

You’ll also have to pay for the monthly service. In return, you’ll get Google’s fastest possible speeds, and you’ll also get priority in selecting your “Stadia Name.”

Effectively, there will be three major game consoles in the coming months. The only major online company left to launch one would be Amazon, who have their Kindle line of devices to fall back on.

Google has the benefit of an already massive developer community who may be interested in releasing games on the platform, which will enable people to stream the games in real time. This is the way all gaming is going, and Xbox 2 may well have a significant amount of streaming built into it.

A Third Horse Enters The Race

In reality, anyone with a large user base can try to launch a game console. If they leverage their existing user base in the right way, they may or may not succeed. Microsoft has carved its path using the Xbox line of products. Sony has done the same.

The biggest games are developed for both. Google may create a future where all games conform to some standard, and they’re available on every platform.

Then it becomes about what each platform adds to the experience. In the case of Microsoft and Sony, they will probably be expanding to augmented and virtual reality offerings before too long. If this is the case, at scale, they could likely outpace Google at gaining adoption of such new devices.

Google doesn’t have to win in the hardware race, though. It’s never been a hardware company, despite now having a long line of hardware products to its name. Instead, Google is about radically improving services. It began with search, but it’s moved into e-mail and virtually everything else that people use to live.

Thus, if Google can make platforms more competitive since it’s offering a games development platform, that could lead to Google and other providers gaining more comfortable access to those existing platforms. This could pave the way for Google, Microsoft, and Sony to be on pretty much level playing fields when it came to the release of new games.

That only matters when you’re trying to sell consoles.

In gaming, there are some metrics to consider with the sale of consoles. One is loyalty. People like what they like. Some people like PlayStation, some like Xbox, and some will like Stadia. Some like whatever is cheapest. Others will like whatever they think works the best.

Stadia will be seen as the newest, and it may not, therefore, be the most reliable. It may not compare to the new offerings from Sony and Microsoft. It may start life in its own category.

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

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