With Microsoft ramping up its Project xCloud service and PlayStation moving forward with cloud gaming technology, it's clear that the next-generation of video games will have a big focus on streaming. Google is getting in on the game streaming action early with its Google Stadia platform, allowing players to stream triple-A experiences at 60 frames per second and in 4k resolution regardless of their hardware - assuming that they have fast enough Internet of course.
Right out of the gate, Google Stadia is facing some serious obstacles. Besides the fact that Internet data caps across the United States will make Stadia a non-option for literally millions of people, Stadia itself has struggled to put together a compelling launch lineup. The Stadia Founder's Edition, set to launch in just a few days on November 19, will give early adopters access to just 12 games, and only one of them is a Stadia exclusive.
The biggest problem with the Google Stadia launch lineup is just that - there's literally one game on it that players can't play anywhere else. For those who have missed the news, here is the list of Google Stadia launch games:
Wondering what games will be available to play on launch day for Stadia? Here’s our day one lineup for November 19 with more titles coming by the end of 2019.— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) November 11, 2019
For the full list and additional details, check out our blog → https://t.co/CWyqjMegYz pic.twitter.com/YzhEX1d3ou
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Destiny 2: The Collection
Just Dance 2020
Mortal Kombat 11
Red Dead Redemption 2
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
A quarter of the Google Stadia launch lineup is comprised of old Tomb Raider games, with the rest made up almost entirely of games that are at least a year old, if not older. There are a couple of exceptions, like Just Dance 2020 and Mortal Kombat 11, though the latter released months ago and judging by its sales, anyone that wants to play it most likely already has purchased the game for other platforms.
What is Gylt?
The one Stadia exclusive in the lineup is Gylt, and it admittedly looks pretty interesting. It's a horror game where players set out to find their missing friend Emily. But instead of finding Emily, players run into a variety of nightmarish creatures. Gylt appears to have puzzle solving and stealth elements, with players also utilizing a flashlight to fight off the monsters in a manner not unlike Alan Wake. The art style is perhaps its most striking feature, and while the jury is out on whether or not it's actually a good game or not, it does seem to have promise. And for hardcore horror fans, it may very well be what sells them on Stadia early on.
It helps that Gylt is being developed by Tequila Works, which is an indie studio known for Deadlight, The Sexy Brutale, and Rime. Tequila Works' games have not always been met with singing critical praise, but the studio certainly has its fans. However, Tequila Works' games are all very short experiences, which means that Gylt may very well be a shorter experience than fans would hope for. According to playtime aggregate site How Long to Beat, none of Tequila Works' games even hit 10 hours for an average playtime, and most hover around the five hour mark.
With Gylt being the only exclusive game at launch, some fans may be disappointed if it is a short experience. If they've played the other games available in the launch lineup, they may quickly find themselves with nothing to play on the service.
On the bright side, Google Stadia will be adding some more games to its service by the end of 2019. Those games are as follows:
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Farming Simulator 19
Final Fantasy 15
Football Manager 2020
Ghost Recon Breakpoint
For the most part, the Google Stadia games coming throughout the rest of the year are all games that have been available on other platforms for quite some time. There are some heavy hitters there for sure, but those interested in these games have likely already played them. It's unlikely that big Borderlands fans haven't already played Borderlands 3, for example. Perhaps the ability to play the games anywhere will be enough to convince some to double dip, but otherwise there's not a whole lot of compelling titles here.
However, there is one game of particular interest, and that is Darksiders Genesis. Darksiders Genesis will be launching on PC and Stadia simultaneously on December 5, with console players having to wait all the way until February 14, 2020 to get their hands on the game. This does give Stadia a slight advantage, though with the mixed reception to Darksiders 3, it's hard to say if Darksiders Genesis will be a worthwhile experience or not.
Looking into next year, there is one other Stadia-exclusive game that has been officially revealed, and that is Get Packed. Get Packed is a party game that has been compared to Overcooked, and it could very well be a fun time. It would have been a great way for Google to bolster Stadia's launch lineup, and at the time of this writing, it's unclear exactly how long fans will have to wait to get their hands on the game.
Otherwise 2020 will see a number of high profile games release on Stadia at the same time as other systems, including the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel's Avengers. Games releasing on Stadia at the same time as other platforms may make them a bit more appealing, and we're sure that Google will have some new exclusive game announcements next year as well.
If Google is able to build a compelling library of exclusive games, then its head start into cloud gaming may be worth it. For now, though, it seems that most gamers will be better off waiting to see what happens with the service before jumping in.
Google Stadia will launch on November 19.