As is customary, Google yesterday unveiled a trailer in conjunction with the launch of the Stadia cloud streaming platform. The tech giant paid out the big bucks to comedian Reggie Watts to front the two-minute flick.
We’re not too sure how to feel about it. On the one hand, it’s kind of incredible. There are hints of a stroke of marketing genius that harks back to the endearingly awful gaming ads of the 1990s, with overt tongue in cheek flamboyance and a janky campness coursing throughout.
On the other hand, the viewer is force-fed the idea of Stadia as ‘the newest, most logic-defying, mind-bending, absurd gaming platform on Earth’ in trippy, disjointed pandemonium. It isn’t, as has become abundantly clear.
The trailer hammers home the notion that Google has put more effort into weaving this neither-here-or-nor-there identity for the Stadia than the service itself. Peppered throughout are these factual inaccuracies. To call them lies wouldn’t be quite right, but we’d be fibbing if we didn’t point out that they do not resemble the experience of early adopters.
Nestled among the oozing kitsch are multiple references to Stadia 4K/60 fps gaming tagline caveated by a small print disclaimer, which reads;
Stadia Pro necessary for 4K. Availability and performance of gameplay experience features may vary.
As multiple reviews have reported, 4K/60 fps is an ambition, but not a reality at this point . The disclaimer is there, yes, but such focus feels disingenuous.
Then we get the suggestion that Stadia requires no downloads or updates. True, unless you factor in that its constantly downloading, you have to be connected to the internet at all times, and have to pack one hell of a fast connection to boot.
In what we presume is some bastardized reference to Star Wars, a gentleman in an ill-fitting suit and bad haircut announces ‘Stadia has the games you’re looking for,’ before morphing into a screen and dimension-hopping canoe.
While the imagery is peculiar, the message is a bit of a stretch. Bar a few exemptions, Stadia’s launch titles are at best a year old. Also, there are only 22 games, upped from 12 after Google felt the heat. Stadia doesn’t have the games you’re looking for, not to speak of the prices.
The whole thing culminates in a kaleidoscopic crescendo of neon hues and meaningless platitudes as Reggie Watts pronounces;
Unthink the things you think are things.
The chief takeaway is that Google appears as rudderless and confused about what Stadia actually is or isn’t as we are after watching the trailer.