In Defense of Google Stadia

In Defense of Google Stadia

It’s raining in New York. The hot kind of rain where it’s simultaneously too hot to go outside and also too wet. I’ve already had a shower earlier in the morning after a pre-rain walk around Central Park. I don’t really fancy another, so I’m staying in my hotel room. It’s near Broadway, so plenty to see out the window… aaaaand the fog rolled in.

Thousands of miles away sit my various consoles. I’d been meaning to take a run at Assassins Creed: Valhalla – now would be a great time to play this AAA title. If only there were a way… which, obviously, there was. Out of my backpack, I pull out a Chromebook (formerly a MacBook).

Before we go further – it’s important to know that the 2015 MacBook was converted to OS Flex when it was no longer able to even keep up with the most basic demands of a portable computer. It lagged on just about everything and was no longer the powerhouse editor which served me on several tours, video edits and such. To put it bluntly, if it were a pet – the kindest thing to do would be put it out of its misery. The shit’s old is what I’m getting at here.

The trick up the sleeve of this war-hardened machine is one simple Chrome tab; Google Stadia. Through this tab – the AAA title of Assassins Creed can be played, as well as Borderlands 3, Hitman and other games on my to-play list. You see, while the MacBook was barely capable of launching Photoshop, the entirety of the processing power, graphics and grunt work of running high-demand games would be handled in the cloud. Suddenly, it did not matter that the machine could do nothing in-house, so long as it could connect to the Internet – she was worthy of gaming. No downloads, no updates, no nothing. The latest instance of the game, and all my saves, were ready in a browser.

It was this use case which lit up my world – and frankly, hindered the rollout of the service. Google Stadia would launch just as the Pandemic was starting. Suddenly, with the world on lockdown – with the already existing consoles and immanent financial hurdles, people simply did not NEED Stadia. It would be a couple of years of lockdown before the New York trip. In which time, adoption of Stadia just was not enough to keep it running. People just had their stuff with them and the immense joy of playing anywhere was locked out of view.

Fast-Forward to today. With a few hours to spare, I decided to fire up the old PS4 and power through some Borderlands 3. Well… after the system update. But now, oh wait… a 25GB game update. Better walk the dog for 2 hours.

Google Stadia will forever be a meme to many. Alas, they did not get to experience it as I did. All through the Pandemic, I played it. My games could be on my laptop – which had no right to run new games as well as it did.

I miss it.

Alex Watts
Alex Watts

Leadership, Public Speaking... Video Games? Alex Watts brings you musings of an askew brain being fed dopamine from all angles. Will wax poetic about dogs, basketball, hip-hop, Batman and whatever the hyper-focus is that week.

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