Google comes out to play

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Google comes out to play

Stadia logo
Image captionGoogle’s new game-streaming service will be called Stadia

It is the search giant which is pouring billions into everything from mobile phones to artificial intelligence and driverless cars,

Google comes out to play…The pitch as delivered at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday seemed simple but compelling. Google was offering a streaming gaming service which would give you access to all kinds of hot titles on any kind of screen with all the heavy lifting being done in the cloud. Bye bye console, hello a kind of Netflix for games.

But before we consign all those Xbox, PlayStations and Nintendo Switches to the dustbin of history, there are a few questions to be answered. Will most gamers’ broadband connections be fast enough to make a streaming service an attractive proposition? Will developers all come on board? And is Google the right company to trust with the future of the games industry?

While the menu of games outlined at the launch looked thin, he promised that big titles from major publishers would be coming to the platform in the coming months. But Google can’t expect the established players to sit back and watch as it steals their lunch.

Microsoft is preparing its own streaming service, and neither the Xbox nor Sony’s PlayStation is going to fade away any time soon.

Google VP Phil Harrison

Then there is the question of Stadia’s link with YouTube, where Google has struggled to combat abuse and hateful behavior. The platform will be both a powerful marketing channel for the streaming service and a source of reputational risk if young players face bullying.

There will be a need for substantial investment in moderators to ensure a safe environment.

Despite all these problems, Keza MacDonald believes a streaming service is an idea whose time has come: “If anyone can make it happen, surely it’s Google.”

Google comes out to play

Also on this week’s programme:

  • And how many old phones have you got gathering dust at home? We try out a hi-tech kiosk that examines your phone and offers you a price to recycle it.