Google Stadia and Apple Arcade are two new gaming services by tech rivals. One works by streaming games over an Internet connection. The other is a little different. They both want to own the gaming market.
Right after the announcement of Google Stadia, gaming companies of all kinds must have began a scramble to review their strategies and plans. And now, with Apple Arcade thrown into the mix, that scramble just got worse.
Two of the biggest forces in modern consumer tech have moved gaming to the cloud. If they have their way, you will never need to purchase another game app or software again in your life.
Both Google Stadia and Apple Arcade are cloud-based services that allow you to play games on any connected device – smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs.
How The Two Gaming Services Work
In summary, the two new cloud gaming services free you from the restrictions of traditional gaming hardware.
However, Apple Arcade works a little differently from how Google Stadia does. It is cloud-based in the sense that players can pick up where they left off in a game, even if they switch devices, but the company says that “every game will be playable offline”. So, the games are downloaded to the devices, but synced via the cloud so you can drop your iPhone mid-game play and continue the game on your Apple TV.
Of course, switching between devices is also available on Stadia. The game download and offline playing component of Arcade is undoubtedly an added bonus, as it means you can play games even without an Internet connection. Odd how the script has been flipped there. It is usually Apple’s services that cannot run at all without an internet connection.
But as is typical of Apple’s closed system, Arcade will be available to only iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV devices, so Stadia is the more accessible of the two cloud gaming services.
Streaming Games Brought To You By 5G
The issues of internet connectivity is one that has to be dealt with. With some of the games being streamed at 4k quality at 60 frames per second and with full surround audio, a strong and robust connection will be required for high quality gaming. Which is perhaps why these announcements are coming at a time that 5G mobile networks are popping up around the world.
The beauty though, is that just as with video streaming, Google Stadia service will stream games depending on your internet connection. Which means, one person can stream at 4k quality, and another with a weaker connection at1080p quality.
The quality of Internet connection is not a such a big issue with Apple Arcade, thanks to the ability to play games offline.
Devices and Hardware For Google Stadia and Apple Arcade
All you will need for streaming games is your Android smartphone or iPhone, tablet/iPad, laptop, or Internet TV. Both services also support gaming controllers and other USB accessories.
But Google is also investing in hardware. The company has announced that it will be making a Google Stadia controller.
Google says that the “controller also includes a button for instant capture, saving and sharing gameplay in up to 4k of stunning resolution. And it comes equipped with a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone.”
Pricing for Apple Arcade and Google Stadia
Apple has stated that Arcade will be a monthly subscription service. Google is yet to make a statement about the pricing for Stadia. Arcade will be available before the end of 2019 in over 150 countries, while Stadia will initially roll out in the U.S., UK, Canada and Europe.
Concerns And Backlash From Gamers
Already, serious concerns have been raised about these services. For example Kotaku reports that “..gamers have begun asking deeper, more troubling questions. What do mods look like in a world of game streaming? What happens to game preservation? What happens if Google dwarfs gaming the same way it has with search, browsers and advertising? And most worryingly of all, what happens if Google decides to walk away from the industry later on?”
These questions and concerns are just as valid for Apple as they are for Google. The key difference is that Apple does not have a track record of shutting down services and walking away like Google has.
How Do You Roll?
To be honest, which service you jump on will largely depend on which ecosystem you are invested in – Apple’s or Google’s. And perhaps, you will adopt a wait-and-see approach to this and stick to gaming the good old way till the tide is strong and irresistible.