Google's GDC 2019 keynote address blew away many expectations with the demonstration of its Stadia gaming platform. Google is clearly hoping for Stadia to be the next step in video gaming, promising triple-A gaming experiences regardless of hardware for anyone with a 25mbps Internet connection or higher. If Google Stadia works as intended, it could have a major impact on the gaming industry as we know it, with Sony and Nintendo already feeling the repercussions.
On Wednesday, the day after Google Stadia's announcement, shares for Sony and Nintendo dropped by 4.5 and 4.6 percent, respectively. Stadia stands as a direct threat to both company's existing hardware businesses and the concept of a traditional home game console box in general, so it makes sense that the stocks would react to the announcement.
However, this doesn't spell doom for Sony and Nintendo. On the contrary, Google Stadia has a lot to prove before it can truly be considered a game-changer in the industry, and it's not like Sony and Nintendo don't have big plans for the future as well. Nintendo is currently enjoying great success with the Switch, and Sony is no doubt preparing its PlayStation 5 console, which is expected to be announced in 2019 and launch at some point in 2020.
PlayStation 5 is rumored to have game streaming as a major focus for its platform, which is something Sony has already dabbled in with its PlayStation Now service. And while PlayStation 5's game streaming may not be quite as robust as what Google Stadia is offering, PlayStation does have an advantage, and that is an established library of high-quality exclusive games. With blockbuster franchises like God of War, Uncharted, and The Last of Us at its disposal, Sony shouldn't be at risk of dropping out of the console gaming market any time soon.
While Nintendo and Sony are no doubt aware of Google Stadia and the potential threat it poses to them, they've been quiet about it since its announcement. The same can't be said for Microsoft, as an email written by Head of Xbox Phil Spencer leaked online, where he hyped the company's big plans for E3 2019, and even threw some shade at Google by saying that its keynote had no surprises. Some have interpreted this to mean that Microsoft's Project xCloud streaming service is set to be a direct competitor to what Google is offering with Stadia.
Right now, it's too early to tell what all the console manufacturers have in store with their next-gen consoles. However, more should be revealed later this year, and it will be interesting to see how they counter the Google Stadia hype.