Microsoft of course has its own cloud gaming platform. Called xCloud. Which is very similar to what Stadia offers to its users. There are of course big differences.
Stadia requires you to be an early adopter of an already purchasable product, and thereafter has a monthly fee of $10 along with the cost of whatever games you want to buy at retail prices.
xCloud on the other hand is currently still in a beta, with a growing library of games you can play at absolutely no cost. Though, that will probably change once the service is officially launched out of beta.
Stadia being viewed as the biggest Xbox cloud gaming rival is a nod to Google
Stadia has had a rocky start. From the beginning of its launch it was destined to garner a fair bit of criticism. Not because it wasn't an exciting technology, or a product that wouldn't work, but because many people already had this viewpoint going into the release.
Perhaps rightfully, the service has gained some negative attention after the launch. Mostly because of the way Google has handled communication about updates and new games. Which is to say there has been what many feel was a lack of communication.
Still, the service works and it serves its purpose, and only stands to get better. It also speaks to Google doing something right when Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox and a big part of the xCloud vision, sees Google as the biggest competitor in the space.
According to Spencer, Sony and Nintendo aren't as much of a worry.
Sony and Nintendo lack cloud infrastructure
The reason Google is viewed as the main competitor to Xbox, in Spencer's eyes, is because it has a huge cloud infrastructure.
Sony and Nintendo lack cloud infrastructure, whereas Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have been building it out for years. Spencer views the cloud as a part of the future of gaming.
And without having the necessary infrastructure to enter this space on the same scale, Sony and Nintendo, he says, would have a harder time competing with Xbox than Google or Amazon.
The interesting bit, at least regarding Sony, is that the gaming industry is entering a new console generation. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are due to release at the end of this year. So hardware in the gaming space is still very much a thing when it comes to consoles.
There may be a lot of people excited about the prospects of cloud gaming, but console hardware and physical games are still very much a thing. So even without the cloud infrastructure Sony stands to be very successful in this new generation of gaming.
Maybe just not in the same way as Microsoft or Google.