USG Notebook: New Year, Not So New Stadia

USG Notebook: New Year, Not So New Stadia

Google Stadia owners are getting a little impatient.

From the USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.

Google's attempt to enter the game streaming marketplace hasn't gone well. In fact, as time has gone on, things seem to have become actively worse; with initially promised features slipping further out from release, and existing reveals failing to provide a killer app. A few months removed from its underwhelming launch, Google Stadia seems to be in the same place it started.

A thread on the Stadia subreddit gained viral traction yesterday, outlining the cloud service's shortcomings. As the author notes, Stadia had gone 40 days and 40 nights without an update of any kind. The service still lacks major features supposedly coming this year, and it still only has a couple exclusives, which are seemingly timed at that.

Almost as if in response to the thread, Google put out a blog update confirming its major exclusive, Gylt, would be coming to the Stadia Pro service in February. And while a premium subscription with free games might alleviate pains, it's not solving the root of the problem: Google Stadia is, essentially, a paid beta right now.

This would perhaps not be as much a worry for Google if Microsoft wasn't already nipping at Stadia's heels with its xCloud service. Ahead of a next-gen launch, Google Stadia has the unique advantage of providing a fidelity upgrade without a hardware upgrade. But it only runs on a limited number of devices at the moment, with a list of features that have yet to be rolled out.

Again, the biggest concern isn't that Stadia won't deliver; it's that it might cease to exist.

A KOTOR return sounds almost too good to be true. | BioWare

From the Rumor Mill

  • Some Resident Evil 8 rumors swirled this week, theorizing what the next entry in the series might look like. I'm skeptical of werewolves, but sister site Eurogamer is confirming it's heard the series will keep a first-person perspective headed into the next installment of the Biohazard franchise.
  • Talk of a mysterious February PlayStation 5 event has been bouncing around the social sphere. It seems like the timing would be good, especially considering how much Sony has shown of its next-gen console compared to Microsoft. At least PlayStation hasn't had to deny any TurboSquid renders.
  • A Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake might be happening? I mean, if it happens, awesome. Considering BioWare is still working on fixing Anthem and delivering a new Dragon Age at some point in the distant future, I'd be curious as to who would be up to the task.
It's, uh, been a while since we heard about Artifact. | Valve

News and Tidbits

Rocket League, which is basically soccer with rocket-powered motor vehicles, is ending support for MacOS and Linux as the studio transitions to a new version of DirectX. In a subreddit post, Psyonix laid out how difficult it would be to maintain version parity in the future on these platforms. I'm not sure about Linux, but I understand the Mac bit; I ran Wine on my college Macbook for a few years as a means for PC gaming, just to skirt issues with native Mac apps.

A CNN report on streaming deals indicates Tyler "Ninja" Blevins was paid between $20 and $30 million for his move to Mixer. Broadcasting rights for various sporting events like football and soccer are already a scrum in modern television, so I'm not surprised to see live-streaming head down this road either.

There's been a smattering of interesting game tidbits, from the announcement of some Metro Exodus and Code Vein DLC to a new trailer for Rhianna Pratchett's upcoming game, Lost Words: Beyond The Page. But most depressingly for those still holding out hope, it's been almost a full year since Valve's Dota card game Artifact went into hibernation to try and reinvent itself. With the success of Dota Underlords and the general popularity of autobattlers over card games, it's a wonder if Artifact could ever make a comeback.

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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