Google took the gaming world by the storm with its Stadia announcement. This idea is by far something completely revolutionary. Streaming games have been alive since the days of OnLive and Gaikai. The impressive part comes from the fact that Google indeed has the capital and infrastructure to make this work. With robust competition in the streaming market, is Playstation ready to compete against Google’s Stadia?
Let’s talk about the facts that make the competition intense and how PlayStation could position against it!
Streaming is affected by lag in response time. Meaning that whoever has the closest serve should be able to provide better service. All this, in theory of course. Sony isn’t new to this market; they have expected this change in the industry since their Gaikai acquisition in 2012. PlayStation Now was born from this acquisition.
Gaikai undoubtedly provided Sony enough to launch PS Now, but it is still a limited service that sports only some PS4 games. In addition to this, the service is not available worldwide, but just in 19 selected markets. The service has been out for some time already, and no news of additional territories are on the horizon. In contrast, Google’s Stadia is targeting a few markets for starters. Although, they already showed their intent of expanding to around 200 markets.
It seems PlayStation has some experience here. But, to compete against Google’s Stadia and other upcoming streaming solutions such as Microsoft’s Project xCloud they need to grow their network reach rapidly. These server improvements are a must if PlayStation doesn’t want to lose market share against their competition. Google isn’t shy to brag about their massive worldwide server structure. Microsoft is also very vocal about the reliability of their Azure server clusters around the globe.
Here, PlayStation has a start but has to prove yet they are ready to take on the challenge. At least in the same capacity as Stadia is currently aiming to achieve.
It’s all about the games!
Stadia took on beta testing with one of the biggest games from last year, Assasin’s Creed: Odyssey. That was a great start to show off what the platform is capable of doing. During GDC, Doom Eternal was demoed on their platform and even featured in their Stadia presentation. All the other announcements were internal demos. Here, PlayStation has an edge.
The amount of development studios Sony has acquired during the years and their publishing experience is a big plus here. Same applies with Project xCloud; their catalog would feature most likely a roster similar to Game Pass. PlayStation has proven their point in the exclusives arena. They took almost every Game of The Year award ceremony with God of War on 2018.
Besides the number of great exclusives already existing and coming to the market, PlayStation also has great third-party relationships. PS4’s success during this console generation built many relationships for Sony. This relationship includes not only AAA developers but also great indies.
PlayStation can directly compete against Google and Microsoft in this category, giving them good opposition.
PlayStation Now has a subscription model. Gaming should ultimately lead to this model when it refers to streaming. Netflix became so popular because of their subscription model that eventually evolved to the streaming platform we are so fond of now. The same evolution is inevitable for gaming. Stadia was shy in mentioning how their pricing structure will be rolled out. Sony can take advantage of this solidifying its subscription-based strategy.
It is still up in the air as to where Project xCloud and Stadia will end up landing in regards to pricing. Microsoft is keen on a subscription-based system. Google is a mystery for the time being. Even though, if Sony sticks to their subscription system, they will be able to get more gamers aboard.
The pricing subject is still very early to discuss. Although, the success of streaming platforms will be closely related to pricing and its structure. If Sony wants to have an even field here, they need to keep costs at a reasonable price and aim for monthly subscriptions, like they are currently doing with PlayStation Now.
Google has reliability on its side. Their cloud-based products are easy to use, and their downtimes are close to non-existent. The expectation is for them to bring this same service level to Stadia. Microsoft doesn’t have a perfect track record with Xbox and their Live system. Although, they haven’t been affected by massive hacking or anything in those lines.
Sony and PlayStation have been improving in this area. Still, their network has been subject to several high profile hacking and identity theft mishaps. True, this is not recent, but the service is still lacking features and the network stability that competitors are already offering.
As Sony expands their vision of cloud gaming, they need to step it up and bring PSN up to speed in terms of features and security.
Want to follow the newest Sony announcements? Tune in for their State of Play stream on Monday; we covered every detail!