So, with Google Stadia set to launch in November 2019 and EA’s Project Atlas announcing imminent external user testing, we could potentially see both of these services available just in time for Christmas.
This is likely not a coincidence on either side’s part. Much like the console launches of previous years, these two services look as if they’ll launch in fierce competition with one another and neither will want to miss out on 2019’s biggest sales season. These unlikely companies may even find themselves contesting the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation by hitting the ground early on an entirely new gaming model.
Competition breeds modernisation as companies strive to keep ahead.
With PlayStation’s exclusives arguably pushing the PS4 way ahead of the Xbox One, we can see how much things slow down when two competitors aren’t tightly matched. The greatest advancements come when rivals are forced to keep working in order to stay in the game, so these two new releases have the potential to produce some great new content for their respective audiences.
However, is it possible that modernisation is moving too quickly? Are consumers able to keep up with the requirements, financial or otherwise, needed to run these new services? Whilst we don’t yet know the specs for Project Atlas, we have been made aware that Stadia will require between 10 and 35 Mbit/s minimal internet speed in order to run games, dependent on the speed and picture quality of said games. This causes a multitude of issues when it comes to accessibility.
Firstly, not everyone has access to internet speeds at this rate. Certain areas, especially those which are more rural, would struggle to produce a connection that would make this service a viable option. Then we should consider that, whilst they may be available for most at home, the data usage and minimum requirements will create considerable limitations in regard to playing anywhere and on any device, as advertised. There’s also a problem when it comes to countries such as Australia, where internet usage is capped at a certain amount. Without unlimited internet, running games via the cloud would eat up the allocated monthly usage extremely quickly.
The issues with data usage are likely to be temporary as technology continues to evolve. With the introduction of services like fibre and 5G, faster online access is becoming more and more available to the public. Political landscapes also regularly change, so hopefully unlimited internet usage will continue to spread globally, alleviating some of the aforementioned pressures in the future.
Until such a time, it’s likely that between Google and EA, whoever manages to get around these challenges first will have a considerable leg up over their counterpart.