Google’s still-teasing game streaming service, Stadia, is now more than a year old, but it still has a lot of requirements and significant housing to grow. Here are some of the biggest areas we can see that Stadia is focusing on for their 2021 street map.
During 2020, Stadia consistently upheld the expectations it had when Google returned. However, there are a number of “obvious” things that are still tragically missing from the stadia.
The most serious of these is the lack of any search functionality within the stadia store and any player’s library. As the marketplace for studio games and proliferation has grown exponentially, the task of hunting down the right game or the add-ons you’ve been looking for has grown even more frustrating. Even searching for your own games can be frustrating as your library expands. Google Assistant integration in Stadia helps with this but unfortunately it is only available for Chromecast Ultra.
With the exception of “new” features, Stadia has also become desperate to bring a variety of applications in line with each other. The Android app does not provide party or voice chat capabilities, Chromecast Ultra offers Google Assistant, the web application cannot be used to set up a stadia controller for the first time and much more.
Another critical goal for the Stadier Roadmap in 2021 is to expand the playerbase. Over the past few months Google has made a lot of efforts to make more people aware of the name Stadia, especially with the recent YouTube premium discount. Then, with the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, Stadia proved that it was capable of running the latest publications.
Over the next year, as more game stadiums come to Google, it needs to continue its expansion efforts to ensure that there are enough players to sustain a community in older games.
One way to expand playerbase is to bring Stadia back to many more countries around the world. Officially expanding in countries like India, Mexico and Brazil – of which, the second has already tasted cloud gaming through Microsoft’s exclusive streaming beta – Stadia saw an explosion of new players almost overnight.
Of course, one of the surest ways to increase the number of people playing games at the stadium is to give people the kind of game they really want to play. Google has already made some progress by offering completely free-to-play games like Destiny 2 and Super Bomberman R Online. There is no doubt that game stadiums like Fortnite and Apex Legends will bring a huge opportunity to get more players.
One of the best ways to get more players to the stadium is to offer the latest “viral” games – think in terms of Folk Folk Guys and Hades, some of the biggest successes of the year. There is no denying that stadia is the most convenient way to play a particular game, just buy and play. Unfortunately, there is no way to know in advance which game is going to be the next big thing.
Overall, the road map for 2020 is similar to the one-day launches in Stadia in the games we’ve seen in 2020 – instead of month-delayed launches, Google needs to position Stadia for success.
Typically, each new generation of gaming hardware brings features that were otherwise impossible on previous consoles – things like ray tracing, built-in streaming equipment, or unique controller features. Since its first release, Google Studia has been looking for unique things that games should do with cloud-enabled features or integration with the Google ecosystem. So far, what we’ve achieved is an initial preview of features like Crowd Play and State Share on YouTube that only work with one game.
Why do we even have an assistant button?
It is a shame to consider such an infinite wealth of possibilities. Imagine a game being tied directly to Google Assistant As proposed in Ima GDC 2019, players can one day help Assistant hit a level. But let’s go deeper. A horror game can – theoretically, if allowed – use the assistant to control your smart home lights to suddenly darken your room in dramatic moments.
Regardless of the actual implementation, more games should try to take advantage of Stadia’s exclusive features in 2021, as it gives players reason to play for other consoles already in Stadia.
One of the most likely items for Stadia’s 2021 road map is the possibility of “hardware” refresh. With the latest generation of consoles now in many families around the world, the seemingly end-of-gen performance in the Stadia won’t be as good, especially as the games make it ideal for those new consoles to come.
There has been a rumor for quite some time that a “Gener 2” is coming to some stadiums, bringing features that we haven’t seen yet. For example, the developers of the chorus of the upcoming game hinted – but later deleted – that the stadia version of the game would offer ray tracing, a complex lighting technology for calculations not used by current stadia games.
It remains to be seen what other “Genre 2” upgrades can bring, but it’s important to remember that “upgrades” are seamless and players shouldn’t spend or even think about it. Since everything is in the cloud, Stadia can boot more demanding games on better server hardware.
Android TV support
I’m referring to it as the end because that’s one thing that’s absolutely certain. Although Chromecast with Google TV was launched as an effective successor to Chromecast Ultra, the new Google TV / Android TV powered device is currently unable to play games (officially) at Stadia.
Thankfully, Google has confirmed to us that Stadia will be coming to Chromecast on Google TV in the first half of the new year, followed by extensive Android TV support. In the meantime, our APAK insights team is closely following the development of Stadia’s innovative Android TV experience with each update to Stadia’s Android app.
How long will these take?
Unfortunately, for many of these improvements, as well as what we didn’t expect, Google is deliberately keeping a close eye on their plans. This means we probably don’t know when these improvements will come until the day they start.
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