There's been a lot of talk recently on who Stadia is right for. While that debate will go on, it's not right for me.
For many, it won't be the the right service and here's just some of the reasons why.
Gaming not a subscription I need
The subscription model works well for a lot of things. If you follow us here at Android Headlines, then you'll know we (or most of us, at least) are big fans of cord-cutting. Having the option to pick and choose your TV subscription(s) opens up the possibilities. For many, myself included, it's the right video streaming payment model.
When HBO has something to watch, I'll pay, then stop and cancel. Rinse and repeat with Starz, Showtime and just about any other service you can think of. If they've got the goods, I'm there. With game-streaming, it's a different story.
Right now, Stadia doesn't have any games I want to play and so I don't subscribe. Fair enough, it's a new service and that will change in time. But I don't see how that will change my viewpoint. Let's say in a month or two it suddenly has a game I want to play. Ordinarily, based on the video subscription approach mentioned above, I'd subscribe. But I still wouldn't.
Firstly, I wouldn't because we are talking about one game. I'm not going to start a subscription just to play one game. I'll buy it if I want to play it that badly. If it's too expensive, then I'll wait until the price drops. If I can't wait, then I'll rent the game and call in sick to work.
Whichever way you look at it, if one game suddenly became available, it doesn't make sense for me to suddenly start a subscription just to play it. Stadia is not a one-game type of service.
Yes, if Stadia has lots of games I want to play then it might make more sense, but I can't play them all at the same time. More to the point, I don't want to. I like to play a game at a time and that takes time.
The second issue with the subscription model is one person. Stadia feels like it's a one-person sub. Take your Spotify or Netflix subscriptions, for example.
There's a good chance you share either your [enter music streaming service name] and your [enter video streaming service name] with someone else. If you're part of a busy household, then it's likely you share it with multiple people.
For each person added, the value intensifies.
That's not the case with Stadia. Not only can you currently not share a Stadia subscription with others, but even if and when you can, you would need to have a family of gamers to begin with. Not all of us do.
Even if you have a family of gamers who are all happy to game routinely throughout the month, and Google lets you 'Family Share' a subscription, this is not the same as regularly watching movies through Netflix or streaming playlists through Spotify.
Stadia is pretty demanding when it comes to data. If we're suddenly talking about a busy household, all game-streaming, on different devices, in different rooms, then you better have the internet package to back it up. I don't.
Don't have the internet Stadia demands
Again, this is another area where while it might be right for you, it's not for me. Like a number of people, I have an internet data cap in place. Not by choice, but by AT&T's decision. You might say well I have the choice to choose the internet provider, but living in a so-called "AT&T community" some of us don't have much of a choice.
I'd have to move home to get away from AT&T. Yes, there's an over-priced option to go "unlimited" but it would seem game-streaming is the only reason I'd need to upgrade. There's no issues with the data cap when it comes to streaming music, movies or anything else.
In that sense, an upgrade fee just to use Stadia would essentially feel like the fee is part of the subscription cost for me.
Keep in mind, this is without even taking into consideration the actual technical issues, including latency, lag and/or connections. This is just talking about how I don't have the internet to consume the up to 20GB an hour Stadia eats through. If you don't either, then Stadia is probably not for you either.
You can play on any device, though!
This is probably Stadia's biggest single selling point in my opinion. The idea you can play on any device (even though that's not true right now) is a big win for gamers. Whether it's because you need to play all the time and wherever you are, or simply because you don't want to invest in an over-priced console, mobile and Chrome support is big.
But again, not so much for me. Firstly, I'm not someone who is madly in love with playing games on a smartphone. Maybe I'm not enough of a gamer to want to, but I don't have the urge to play a AAA title on a small screen.
While I don't play games that often, I do tend to put a lot of hours into the game I do occasionally play. The thought of spending those 100+ hours playing on a mobile phone does not sound appealing.
Yes, I could cast it, but now we're moving back into TV territory. I'm now occupying a TV set, hogging the internet, and have lost the essence of the "any device" selling point.
OK, I could use a Chrome browser on a PC to stream, and that is a middle-ground of sorts, but that feels too much like PC gaming to me. I'm not a PC gamer. Not to mention, once again lost the essence of the "any device" selling point
Yes, you can bounce between playing on a console or PC to a smartphone, but that's only those who own a console or a high-end PC, and who are willing to pay a monthly subscription fee.
The real gamers.
I'm obviously not a gamer, right?
Guessing a lot of people are thinking right now that "this guy's obviously not a gamer" and maybe you are right. I do own a PlayStation 4, I do buy games, and I do play them. If those points alone don't qualify me as a gamer, so be it.
Although if Stadia really is just for what gamers consider to be gamers, then this is not the service Google first advertised as "a gaming experience for everyone."