Welcome to yet another piece of moderately butchered journalism, where I share my unbridled and unfiltered thoughts on gaming. Please remember, my opinions may differ from your own, so please keep that in mind before you head on down to the comment section to call me a big dummy.
The Confusion Of Cloud
Stadia. xCloud. GeForce Now. PS Now. According to some people, those four cloud providers may as well be the four horsemen of the apocalypse. There’s a constant debate over which service is better, and that’s fair. We all want the best our money can buy, so comparing rival services is a totally fair thing for you to do. Hell, it’d be strange if you didn’t.
The thing that absolutely baffles me, however, is when people add Stadia into the bag of comparisons. You see, contrary to what some may lead you to believe, Stadia is not competing against xCloud, or GeForce Now, or PS Now. Stadia is, operationally, its own separate thing. It’s basically operating as a console, but you know, without the console. It’s a neat idea, and whether or not it’ll work out in the end, is still totally up in the air. But at least on a business (operational) standing, Stadia is not competing against any other cloud gaming provider.
So, why the confusion? Why do so many people wrongly believe Stadia and xCloud, GeForce Now, or PS Now, are all fundamentally the same thing? Well, to me the answer is pretty simple, but also oddly complex. At the base of it, people are failing to look beyond the technological similarities, to see the various operational differences that separate them. They see the word *cloud* and *gaming* and assume it’s the same thing. Sure, all cloud gaming services stream video games over the internet, but that’s basically where the similarities end. I mean, just because YouTube and Netflix both stream videos over the internet, doesn’t mean they’re competing against each other, right? They operate in very different ways, despite the core technology and idea being relatively similar. Same goes for cloud gaming services.
Stadia, like I said earlier on, operates like a console. It’s its own unique ecosystem. Games must be ported to run on Stadia, so you’re not just lifting them to the cloud.
xCloud and GeForce Now both operate in a similar way. With these two services, you must buy your games on an existing supported platform, be it Xbox or Steam, and those games will then be available to stream via xCloud or GeForce Now. Basically, you’re renting an Xbox or a Windows PC in the cloud. Think of it as an addon to what you already have, instead of as a new platform.
PS Now is using a bundle model, and is basically a hybrid between Xbox Game Pass, and xCloud. This is the closest thing we have to a true Netflix of gaming service.
And on that note,
PS Now Deserves More Recognition
Seriously, what’s with that? People are constantly ripping on Stadia for not being the Netflix of gaming, despite Google never actually making that claim. Like, at all. The media did that. And at the same time, you also have people praising Xbox Game Pass and xCloud, saying how it’s the closest thing you can get to a Netflix of gaming model. But like, what about PS Now?
Why is PS Now not getting the same praise and recognition? Seriously, you pay $10 each month and you get more than 800 video games. All streamed over the internet, with a growing list of PS4 games also being available for local downloading. And you’re trying to tell me that isn’t Netflix of gaming? Why? Why are people overlooking what is, on paper, the best deal in gaming? It has more games than Game Pass, and gives you the option of streaming or downloading. So like, why aren’t more people jumping on board?
And I mean that as a genuine and real question. PlayStation Now does everything the other cloud services do, excluding Stadia. It has more games. It’s a stream/download hybrid. And it’s the same price as Game Pass. So, what gives? Why isn’t the media talking about this more? Why do all of the articles I see mention GeForce Now, xCloud, or Stadia, and rarely if ever PS Now?
I really don’t understand that… Hell, I might write up a separate article just for PS Now, or start a PS Now Showcase series of recommended games for you to play. Would you be interested in something like that? A PS Now Showcase?
Nintendo Switch Pro
I love gaming, and I own a Switch. The idea of being able to take my games with me on the go, is really freaking cool. Full games, no limitations. Full console experiences on a handheld. I mean, that’s the dream, right?
But now that the next generation consoles are right around the corner, I really struggle to find a place for the Switch. I mean, porting PS4 games over to the Switch is like bloody magic, and even then, some major graphical compromises are made. The Switch simply isn’t powerful enough. And now, we have games like Baldur’s Gate 3 that quite literally cannot run on current gen systems. It’s only available on PC and Stadia, and possibly PS5 and Series X, though that’s unconfirmed. So like, how the hell is the Switch going to survive beyond 2020? Are third party studios just gonna go ahead and drop support for the Switch, due to its significant lack of power? Is Nintendo going to make a Switch Pro of some kind, to keep publishers, ya know, publishing?
I quite honestly don’t know, and I really do fear for the future of the Switch. I love this little device, but I feel like it’s nearing the end of its life. A life that it never truly got to fully live.
The Next Generation
Speaking of the next generation, I’m actually not super impressed with what I’ve been seeing. The last few generations were defined by something pretty specific. PlayStation 3 was the generation of trophies/achievements and motion controls. PlayStation 4 was the generation of social interaction and streaming. PlayStation 5 is the generation of… what, exactly? Faster loading times? Ability to resume games even after a restart? That doesn’t sound super impressive. And I mean, yeah; we’re getting a nice graphics bump, with ray tracing and all that. That’s nice. But are we really going to define the next generation of gaming as “that generation that had fancy graphics and loads faster”? Consoles are never going to have better graphics than a high end computer, so if graphics is all that defines the generation, it’s just not gonna work out very well. I can also put an SSD into my PS4 and get significantly faster load times, too. So even that isn’t a super new idea.
I don’t know dude, I’m just not as hyped for the PS5 as I was for the PS4. I doubt we’ll ever see a PS2 to PS3 level leap in graphics, but I really want to. I want to be wowed again, like I was when I first saw MotorStorm on the PS3. That was the game that convinced me that yes, the PS3 is a leap forward, and totally worth buying. And so far, the PS5 just isn’t doing that for me. It’s not capturing the same level of “wow”. That won’t stop me from buying one, though.
Anyway, that’s about it for this article. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.