Stadia, Google’s still-growing game streaming service, is now over a year old, but it still has many needs and plenty of room to grow. Here are some of the biggest areas we see Stadia focus on on our roadmap for 2021.
Over the course of 2020, Stadia has steadfastly absorbed many of the expectations that Google had set for it at launch. However, there are quite a few “clear” things that are still tragically missing from Stadia.
And the most outrageous one is the lack of any search functionality, either in the Stadia Store or within the player’s library. With the market for games and expansions in Stadia steadily growing, the task of tracking down the game or add-on you are looking for is becoming more and more frustrating. Even searching for your games may get frustrating as your library expands. Stadia’s Google Assistant integration helps with that, but unfortunately it’s only available for Chromecast Ultra.
In addition to the “new” features, Stadia also desperately needs to align its various applications with one another. The Android app doesn’t offer group or voice chatting capabilities, nothing but Chromecast Ultra offers the Google Assistant, the web app can’t be used to set up a Stadia console for the first time, and more.
Another important goal of Stadia Road Map in 2021 is to expand the player base. Over the past few months, Google has gone to great lengths to educate more people with the name Stadia, especially with the recent donation from YouTube Premium. Then, with the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, Stadia proved it could run the latest versions.
Over the next year, Google needs to continue its outreach efforts to ensure that as more games reach Stadia, the older games will still have enough players to sustain the community.
One way to expand your player base is to bring Stadia to more countries around the world. By officially expanding into countries like India, Mexico, and Brazil – the latter two of which have already gotten a taste of cloud gaming through Microsoft’s xCloud Streaming Beta – Stadia could see an explosion of new players almost overnight.
Of course, one sure way to increase the number of people playing games on Stadia is to actually introduce the types of games that people look to play. Google has already made some progress in this regard with its management to offer completely free games like Destiny 2 and Super Bomberman R Online. No doubt, games like Fortnite and Apex Legends will provide a huge opportunity for Stadia to gain more players.
Stadia’s more complex strategy is to get more players introducing the latest “viral” games – think along the lines of Fall Guys and Hades, which are some of this year’s biggest nightly successes. There is no denying that Stadia is one of the most convenient ways to play a specific game, just buy and play. Unfortunately, there is almost no way to know in advance which game will be the next big game.
Overall, Google needs to put Stadia on the spot by making sure the 2021 roadmap is packed with games that launched same day on Stadia, rather than the months-long delayed launches we’ve seen in 2020.
Exclusive features in Stadia
Each new generation of gaming hardware usually comes with features that were impossible on previous consoles – things like ray tracing, built-in broadcast tools, or unique console features. Since the day it was first revealed, Google has been promoting the unique things that games on Stadia should be able to do either through features that support the cloud or through integration with the Google ecosystem. So far, all we’ve gotten are early previews of features like Crowd Play on YouTube and State Share that only work with it. One game.
This is an outright shame considering that there is an infinite wealth of possibilities to tap into. Imagine if it was a game that could be linked directly to a Google Assistant. As suggested in GDC 2019, players can someday ask the assistant to help beat the level. But let’s dig deeper. The horror game could – theoretically, if you get permission – use the assistant to control the lights in your smart home to suddenly dim your room in an exciting moment.
Regardless of the actual implementation, more games should try to take advantage of Stadia’s exclusive features in 2021, as it gives players a reason to play Stadia on other consoles they may already own.
One of the most likely elements of Stadia’s 2021 roadmap is the ability to update “devices”. With the latest generation of consoles now in place in many homes around the world, Stadia will not seem to age well, especially with the arrival of games that improve these new units.
For some time now, it has been rumored that something from “Gen 2” Coming to StadiaIt brings features we haven’t seen yet. For example, the developers of the upcoming game Chorus have indicated – But it was later deleted – The Stadia version of the game will provide ray tracing, a mathematically challenging lighting technique that none of the current Stadia games use.
It remains to be seen what the “Gen 2” upgrade can bring, but the important thing to remember is that the “upgrade” will be seamless and shouldn’t cost players or even need to think about it. Since everything is in the cloud, Stadia can simply run more demanding games on better server hardware.
Android TV support
I mention this last because it’s the only thing that has been completely confirmed. Although Chromecast has launched with Google TV as an effective successor to Chromecast Ultra, the latest Google TV / Android TV OS is currently (officially) unable to play games on Stadia.
Thankfully, Google has confirmed to us that Stadia will be coming to Chromecast with Google TV in First half of the new yearAndroid TV, with wider support to come later. Meanwhile, the Insight APK team is closely following the evolution of Stadia’s nascent Android TV experience with every Stadia Android app update.
How long will this take?
Unfortunately, for many of these improvements, in addition to the ones we hadn’t considered, Google is intentionally keeping it adhering to its plans. Such as Outlined by John Justice lately Fugitive Podcast, the Stadia team makes an effort not to exaggerate promises of the future of service. This means that we will likely not know when these improvements are supposed to arrive until the day they launch.
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