If you had told 16-year-old me that I’d one day play Mortal Kombat 11 on a TV, browser, or smartphone with nothing but a dongle and an internet connection, I would have flipped out. Yet Google Stadia, the tech conglomerate’s new foray into cloud-based gaming, has been received with mixed reviews after its debut in the United States. Turns out playing console games without a console can be kind of tricky.
In case you missed the hubbub, Google Stadia is the company’s answer to the tyranny of, you know, owning a computer or console. The system allows users to play games (14 right now, with more to come) through Stadia servers – no disc or game download required. Think streaming, but gaems.
The folks who like it really seem to like it. CNET reviewer Dan Ackerman, who played through a bit of Destiny 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider through wi-fi, reported only minimal lag. The experience was “much better than I expected”, he said, adding Destiny 2 looked as good played through his Google Pixel as anything native to the Nintendo Switch. That enthusiasm was mirrored by Engadget, who called the responsiveness “fine enough for a relaxing evening.”
But that smooth connectivity was not mirrored in the Washington Post offices, with tech reporter Gene Park experiencing lag bad enough to make some games unplayable.
For the American wing of Kotaku – sister site to Pedestrian Group’s own darling Kotaku Australia – Paul Tamayo questioned Stadia’s target market, given the fact many people already have the means to play Stadia’s launch titles on console or PC, and might not be persuaded by Stadia’s portability and cross-screen playability.
There’s one question I keep returning to: Who, exactly, is this for? It’s in its testing stages, but could I recommend this to somebody in its current state? Nah, not really. Does it work though, Paul? Yup. Sure does.
Tamayo added the input delay, when it does happen, is “disruptive”.
There’s no Aussie release date slated for Google Stadia, but considering our nation’s reputation for our internet’s gaming capabilities, you folks may be better off sticking to traditional PC and console systems for a hot minute.