The Future of Google Stadia in the FGC

March 25, 2019

The Future of Google Stadia in the FGC

Here Comes A New Challenger!

Last week, the new Google-owned gaming platform was revealed, and it took the internet by storm. Not a storm of “Oohs” and “Aahs”, but a storm filled with questions both answered and unanswered. However, to the fighting game community only one question is on the forefront.

“How will fighting games work on this platform?”

Well, the answer is apparently perfectly, as in a recent interview from Google’s Vice President and General Manager stated: "we have a couple of leading fighting games in development on our platform."

As promising as that sounds, the FGC’s question slowly went from “How will fighting games work on this platform?” to “Should we play fighting games on this platform?” There are many past consoles that were left on the sidelines in the FGC from the PS2 to the PS3 due to hardware limitations. Is the Google Stadia at all compatible with the fighting game community?

I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Nah”.

Internet and Latency

The Stadia is not a console but a streaming service. You’ll be able to use this new platform on any device you presently own, which is a huge positive. I mean all you have to do is subscribe to the service and your console upgrading worries are over. However, it also means you will constantly have to be connected to a network with a highly stable connection to keep frame drops and lag to a minimum. This already makes them incompatible with the tournament scene, even before release. Along with this, there will constantly be added latency to player inputs - and while Phil Harrison has acknowledged that there are some players that don't want any additional lag, he has also stated that reaction heavy games like shooters and fighting games will be compatible with the Stadia.

We’ve all heard it before, “X number of frame delay won’t hurt that much” but that never works out. Heck, if you can grab a free trial of PlayStation Now and try to play your local friend in USFIV, you’ll have a good idea of how it could feel. This type of system is just too flawed with the current infrastructure of US internet to be relied on for something that is as reflex heavy as fighting games unless you are a psychic.

Your games are not yours

Remember back when Nintendo recently shut down the Wii Virtual Console and a whole console library packed full of exclusives was lost? 

My intention isn’t to fear monger, but these games are being streamed to us and that means the end of ownership. It’s not unheard of for a gaming company to Thanos snap their fingers and take away our paid for video game. It’s a trap that MMOs and online-only mobile games have fallen into already and it’s not far from the console world.

If this system was our only choice where would all the fighting games of old be right now? This is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Google Stadia is a console made for everyone but is certainly not for everyone. It’s just impossible to reach everyone with a service like this whether it be by choice or due to a difference in area internet speeds. With so many questions about the platform yet to be answered, I’m sure the FGC will be just fine with sticking to discs, consoles, and our usual monitors - where the only lag we have to worry about is the frames of delay we get playing against a Wi-Fi warrior on ranked match.

De'Angelo Epps

Deangelo is a writer with a huge love for playing and writing about fighting games (along with countless other game genres).

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