google stadia, game streaming
Stadia just launched, but game streaming is already racing to market saturation. And it’s not even that much of a market in the first place. | Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / AFP
  • Amazon is allegedly announcing a new game streaming service in 2020.
  • Google Stadia just launched this week, but the market for game streaming is already starting to look saturated with inferior products.
  • If a service doesn’t fix things, the whole market could completely wither away.

Game streaming seems to be all the rage right now. Google Stadia just came out, and everyone’s talking about it. Mainly for the wrong reasons. Xbox’s Project xCloud will be coming next year. Now, it turns out that Amazon could soon throw its hat into the ring.

So many companies are trying their hand at game streaming. Will the market be able to support so many different companies? The answer is probably not. At least not in a way that’s sustainable over the long-term. And for a fledgling service, that could very easily mean premature death.

We’re Approaching Early Over-Saturation

Over-saturation is a market killer. It’s one of the main elements behind the video game crash of ’83. Allowing any market to become oversaturated, especially with inferior products, is bound to cause problems.

With Stadia just a few days old and most services yet to launch, game streaming is already swiftly heading in that direction. And it’s barely even fully-formed as a market in the first place.

It’s only been a few years since video game streaming was really even possible, yet we’ve already got four different services either on their way or available now. Considering how clunky two of those services have already proved to be, the inferiority of game streaming as a product is evident.

Also Read: Is Google Stadia Just Pandering to Women?

google stadia
Game streaming isn’t ready for primetime. | Source: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

It’s not that game streaming will never work. It’s a great idea for bringing gaming straight into the modern era. The issue is that the technology and internet infrastructure just aren’t up to the task (yet).

Despite the claims that the tech was groundbreaking, Google Stadia doesn’t even work properly. It’s got massive amounts of input lag, runs inferior graphical modes, and eats data like a glutton. In the state it is in, Stadia is basically unusable.

Current Game Streaming Doesn’t Seem to Work

Anyone who’s played PSNow will also be able to attest that PlayStation’s service has its own set of problems. The games are certainly playable, but there are frequent framerate drops and lag spikes. Any sort of game which requires extremely quick reaction times is a no-go.

There is always the chance that Xbox Project xCloud and whatever Amazon’s thing ends up being called will come along and fix game streaming. It’s a slim chance in this day and age, but it’s a chance. If that happens, we might see Stadia and PSNow die off completely.

Realistically, if we want companies to be brave enough to keep trying game streaming, one of these services needs to start functioning properly. Even if that kills off all the others, it at least keeps the market open.

Game Streaming - PSNow
PSNow has PlayStation’s huge array of IPs, but still can’t draw in players. | Source: PlayStation

The Future of Game Streaming

Frankly, the way things are going, it’s a wonder that anyone still has any faith in game streaming as a concept. Stadia came out with big promises and delivered practically none of them. Seriously, they can’t even manage to distribute their activations codes properly.

PSNow isn’t really popular enough to upend the market. The only thing that can save game streaming now is a new service that works. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be playable.

As it stands, the fledgling market is already heading for a downward spiral. But considering how small the market actually is, will anyone even notice?

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

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