In announcing Stadia this March, Google executives sold their streamed-gaming ambitions as a way to revolutionize the gaming business and the community surrounding it. With today’s announcement of Stadia’s pricing and business model, though, the company seems to be stuck in a decidedly old-fashioned mode that doesn’t really exploit streaming’s biggest benefits.
It starts with the initial hardware purchase requirements. A big part of Google’s sales pitch for Stadia was the fact that the service would work on any computer with a Web browser, as well as generic mobile phones and tablets, using non-proprietary USB controllers. Requiring early adopters to purchase $129 worth of Chromecast Ultra and Stadia Controller hardware cuts against that “open to anyone” messaging. In a world where an Xbox One with a bundled