Google is taking its cloud gaming platform Stadia to more screens by leveraging its huge Android user base. Stadia will now work with any Android smartphone that can install the app even if that particular model isn’t in the current list of officially supported smartphones.
The decision to make Stadia available on more devices seems driven by the recent spike in gaming, particularly on mobile devices. Although lockdowns, driven by the covid-19 pandemic, have been lifted in many countries, mobile gaming continues to be immensely popular.
However, playing games on Stadia won’t be the same as playing a game that is installed on the phone.
“Google is the only company with the resources to reach out to so many companies by leveraging android platform and their established base but I still feel that if you roll out bad products people are still not going to accept it. Stadia is like the Google+ of gaming,” said Oliver Jones, co founder and director, Bombay Play, a mobile game development firm.
Jones points out, ultimately these phones will be streaming games like videos. So compatibility won’t be a problem. Bandwidth and latency will be a bigger problem.
Latency, lags and frequent disconnection were some of the issues that many users had experienced after Stadia went live in 2019.
In addition to opening access to more handsets, Google has also released a touchscreen based virtual game controller allowing smartphone gamers to play games without having to connect a Stadia game controller to the phone. The touch controls are available starting today and will work with every game on Stadia. Users can access it by selecting “Try touch gamepad” after launching a game.
“Games like PUBG Mobile have proved that it is possible to ingrain console level experience on mobile and people are willing to accept their horrendously complex GUIs,” said Jones.
Google Stadia is a subscription based online platform that allows users to stream and play 4k games directly on TVs, PCs and smartphones without having to download large files at a monthly fee of $10 per month.
Google has added a bunch of new handsets to the list of supported phones. It includes several OnePlus smartphones from OnePlus 5 onwards. The recently launched OnePlus 8, the OnePlus 8 Pro handset are already compatible with Stadia.
Among supported handsets, there are high end Samsung phones including the Galaxy S20 and S10 series, Asus ROG phones, multiple Pixel phones including the new Pixel 4 and 4XL.
Though Jones doesn’t feel compatibility will be a huge issue, Google has cautioned users that Stadia may not work perfectly on every Android phone.