Home Gaming Games streamed on Stadia will cost the same as games bought on other platforms

Games streamed on Stadia will cost the same as games bought on other platforms

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There are already concerns when it comes to game ownership. Largely, they stem from the fact that we don’t own the games we buy. Instead we’re just buying a licence to play them. For most consumers though, it’s a moot point. We buy games, and we can play them, and in the case of single player ones, we can even do that if the internet goes down.

The future is changing that, and it’s becoming increasingly likely that we’ll beam games through the internet. Microsoft’s xCloud, PlayStation now and Google’s Stadia are all preparing for a future where consumers don’t need expensive hardware to play games – they just need fast, reliable internet connections and proximity to datacentres. Some consumers might’ve expected that buying games on Google’s platform might work out a little bit cheaper, given that there are no files to download or anything resembling physical media. It’s a little more like permanent-renting. They’d be wrong.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Google’s Phil Harrison said there’s extra value to be had in being able to play games on any screen.

“I don’t know why it would be cheaper,” Harrison told the outlet. “The value you get from the game on Stadia means you can play it on any screen in your life,” he said. “I think that is going to be valuable to players… In theory, the Stadia version of a game is going to be at the highest possible quality of innovation and sophistication on the game engine side.”

Many expected that Stadia would operate on a Netflix-like subscription model, but it will instead offer a library of games as part of its subscription, and then also have full-priced games available.

“We’re definitely in a great moment of transition and inflection in the industry, going from an ownership consumption model,” Harrison told Eurogamer when poked on the difference between Netflix and Stadia – which requires a subscription and then asks consumers to pay for new games.

And I think that’s where Stadia might fall. I don’t think the market is quite ready for this in this guise yet. People like to feel like they own their games (even if they don’t) and there are many who still don’t trust or want to use services like Microsoft’s Game Pass for this very reason. I know people who’d rather buy a game than subscribe to Game Pass to play it – and while that’s purely anecdotal – I’m sure there are many who feel the same way.

Conversely, I think it’s Microsoft’s Game Pass that’ll give the company the edge in the impending game streaming wars. They’ve already said that Game Pass subscribers can stream their subscription games from other devices thanks to xCloud, and that a subscription library seems a better value proposition than Google’s buy-to-stream ethos.

Last Updated: June 28, 2019

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