Let’s cruise into this week’s petrol station.
Mega corporation Google have finally shown their gaming hand. Well, most of it, though a lot of why remains.
After digesting all the main points of their incredibly sterile PR-filled presentation, it’s clear Google presented a very compelling product.
High fidelity, high framerate next gen gaming, all streamed to any device that can use Chrome/YouTube, with 5 second load times, the ability to instantly share save states and drop in and out of specific moments game to game/device to device, cloud computing benefits (think Crackdown 3, but real) and a fancy controller in which you can ask Google to play your game for you, if you want. Hooked up to their YouTube platform, and using the aforementioned share state option, Stadia allows some unparalleled interactions between content creators and audience.
Interestingly the pad is Wi-Fi enabled to allow input to be sent straight to the server, thus your chosen device/screen will be only be receiving the image, rather than processing the input. On the other hand, it’s via WiFi so probably slower anyway.
A lot of talk of current gen console beating specs, 4K 60hz gaming, eventually scalable to 8K 120hz in the future (something no GPU can actually do yet). It’s all meaningless without testing in a real-life, every day environment, with providers who can manage the data and bandwidth demand. Previous public testing went well but, despite being public, was still controller and was still confined to the one, slow-paced game.
If Google are indeed committed to investment in infrastructure, by which I mean negotiating and aiding ISPs; actually giving ISPs an incentive to upgrade, then it’s not inconceivable that Stadia can overcome some of the obvious ping issues. I’m sceptical, as many are, but I’m prepared to be wowed by some technical wizardry to help overcome input latency. Fibre cables need connect directly to homes though, Google can’t outrun the speed of light, after all.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is not a fair test for this platform giving its long character movement animations. This was clearly a calculated move. However, it is far from the only concern.
Google are going to have to overcome questions about pricing, image quality, crazy bandwidth requirements and compression methods, a level playing field for smaller developers and game preservation. And will Google’s development tools allow for easy porting? The comparisons to the success of mainstream music and video are only skin-deep, gaming is a whole different ball game, with greater requirements.
Or, the mass market adopts it before it’s ready and all we end up with is high-lag AAA games and Candy Crush. Your move, Google. [via Google Stadia]
Nindies Showcase Spring 2019
This week, in another wonderful display of providing a front-and-centre marketing platform for indie studios, Nintendo showed us once again, not only why they want your money, but how they’re going to get it from you.
Yes, the wonderful ‘Nindies Showcase’aired to show us a hell of a diverse Switch line up, most of which is coming pretty soon, in fact.
You can watch the show in full here. [via Nintendo]
However, the real headline grabber was the clear step up in relationship between Microsoft and Nintendo.
Cuphead on Switch
Former console exclusive, Cuphead is coming to Switch. This oft-rumoured partnership with Microsoft is taking its first major step towards some interesting cross-device possibilities.
Cuphead brings its blend of phenomenal 1930s Disney-like cartoon artistry with ludicrously difficult bullet hell shoot-‘em-up and light-platforming action to the handheld and, from the footage, looks to run really well.
The Switch, like with pretty much everything, seems the perfect home for Cuphead [via Nintendo]
Crypt of the NecroDancer Gets a Zelda Sequel?
Did you see this coming? Liar! This straight-out-of-left-field incredible surprise rounded off a great Spring Showcase.
Brace Yourself Game’s beloved rhythm dungeon-crawler, Crypt of the NecroDancer has an incoming sequel by the name of Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the NecroDancer which features the original’s gameplay but based in a Hyrule locale. Not only that but you play as Link or Zelda. Playable Zelda!
It marks a unique partnership between AAA and a small independent studio, allowing the freedom to use one of the most revered gaming properties in history. And it looks awesome. [via Nintendo]
References / Sources:
https://www.nintendo.co.uk/News/2019/March/New-Nindies-Showcase-video-unveils-more-quality-indie-titles-coming-to-Nintendo-Switch-1534452.html (viewed 24/03/19)
https://store.google.com/magazine/stadia (viewed 24/03/19)