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Google Stadia lacks content says Xbox's Mike Nichols

Stadia
Stadia (Image credit: Google)

A few weeks ago, Google announced Stadia, a game streaming platform which promises "uncompromised" performance. While the team failed to mention issues concerning bandwidth limitations and more, it seems like the company's competitors, like Microsoft, are questioning how much content will be available on the system.

During an interview between Xbox's Chief Marketing Officer Mike Nichols and The Telegraph, Nichols talked about how Microsoft's gaming ambitions differ from Google's. He said the following in the interview compiled by WCCFtech.

Emerging competitors like Google have a cloud infrastructure, a community with YouTube, but they don't have the content... You won't necessarily need a device over time, but you'll get the best experience with local processing power.

Nichols believes that Google has the means, but it lacks the content. Additionally, sending a compressed video over the internet isn't the same as dedicated hardware rendering each pixel on your display. Stadia also has more input lag, and given its 20 GB per hour requirement, it may not be for everyone. However, the major concern is the lack of games. Google showed teasers for titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Red Dead Redemption 2, but none were confirmed except for some smaller experiences which exhibited performance issues during the presentation.

Hopefully the company will provide more details soon because E3 2019 is around the corner. There are rumors that both the next-generation Xbox and PlayStation will feature more power than what Stadia offers developers. The war for cloud streaming has just begun, and exclusives will probably determine who wins.

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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

62 Comments
  • It'll cancel in a year if it doesn't produce revenue. I had some disgruntle FB people that don't accept the fact that Google is in the Advertising business. Any content that don't produce revenue, they cancel. It's the reason I never had ever invested heavily into any of their products other than Gmail and Drive. I'm heavily in the Android ecosystem but I don't trust any, or this, service.
  • Between Google's spying on its customers, helping the Chinese government against its citizens, and censoring Americans, I try to have as little as possible to do with them.
  • Do you use Microsoft products? Unlike Google, Bing is in China.
  • There's always that one...
  • the future of gaming is not a box and 5G will change the game
  • I think the future of gaming will be defined by gamers. It remains to be seen if majority of gamers would rather stream or rent games...
  • When streaming is seamless, the choice will be easy for gamers.
  • We'll see about that. Personally I have great internet speed but I would rather own my hardware and games. I would rather choose what to play and not rent a selection of games that a company defines.
    But hey that's just me, we'll see what gamers actually prefer...
  • 5G will not change any game. even on wifi Stadia will be trash
  • Stream gaming on a flight, train or in some basement?
    When do you expect us, huamn to have a reliable, cheap, uncap internet wherever you go, across continents? If Stadia sell games...
    Would kids willing to pay $60 upfront before they join their favorite streamers? If Stadia goes subscription...
    AAA games on day1? If Stadia goes overlay ads...
    AAA games on day1?
    Can ads cover the electricity bills generated by better-than-top-tier-gaming-PC HW? How many watts per game session? Devs can use more than 1 CPU/GPU right? If I'm not mistaken, MS owns more servers and undersea cables, and Xbox team has invested in outatime, kahawai, font API, touch API, XPA, xvc and othe techs.
  • This kinda reminds me of Microsoft's evaluation of the iPhone. "...it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard. Which makes it not a very good email machine. ... Right now, we're selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year."
  • That comparison makes no sense. They're simply saying they have the advantage in the content department, which is a simple fact.
  • Actually the comparison is spot on. A MS exec mocks a new product by a direct competitor.
    At the time, MS were talking of the advantage of having the cheaper and bigger user base. They were already in the mobile space for years and the guy is talking about millions of phones selling every year vs iPhones 0. All that while making fun of iphone's price. (like how MS here are talking about Google's lack of 'content'.
  • Sure because you're an unbiased observer. I don't understand how you can take that statement as mocking.
  • so this now is coming back to me being a so-called bias observer? LOL
    I've given points of why these two are similar but you feel the need imply that I'm bias, while ofc you are totally unbias...
    How about comparing statements and not making it personal?
    The mocking part was in reference to what MS said about the iphone.
  • I'd agree if MS were not investing in streaming infrastructure, services and business model. For the above comparison to be correct, MS would have to be saying they didn't need to change from their current physical console only business model and had no plans for game streaming.
  • Difference is, MS is very invested in gaming and have a huge start unlike their weak phone efforts and is probably there only consumer based product of any relevance.
  • Microsoft was invested in smartphones and had a following when iPhone launched. There is no difference.
  • that's a big stretch. maybe you should look at the facts instead of some poor analogy. Google's platform requires games to be made or ported to its Linux platform. Are developers going to spend money to do this? Microsoft, Valve, Nvidia, etc. are using PC games (made for Windows) so they already have thousands of games from the past, the present, and the future. There is a reason why Google targeted iD software and their Doom game which already had a Linux port.
  • iPhone required an ecosystem and developers to support it as well as having a high price for consumers. Seems like an apt metaphor.
  • Yeah except MS infrastructures are far more advanced than Google's and they are heavily investing into it... IPhone was far superior to MS offering.. So no it doesn't compare at all... MS has the better product and infrastructure and has no plan on stagnating into the old gaming infrastructure like they did with phone... They have the upper hand and the better product... That wasn't the case with phones....
  • So far we have not idea. And that's the point. MS back then thought they had the advantage without even knowing what Apple could offer. The future showed us that.
    Here it's the same MS and their fans talk about how superior they are without knowing what Google are capable of.
  • What does that have to do with the new CEO?
  • It's about the statements made...
  • I wonder what this Mike Nichols said about the drought of major MS-made 'content' for XB1 compared to the rival PS4. Also I wonder what the guy was saying about the lack of MS-made 'content' for kinect...
  • Content in this context doesn't mean exclusives. Microsoft can potentially have the entire Xbox library from the start while Google needs developers to port games to their platform.
  • Yes, I know the context.
    When it's MS v Sony, content and exclusives doesn't matter.
    When it's MS v Google, content and exclusives matters. If Google has the third party support then once again exclusives will probably make the difference. Yes so far MS has bigger first party library and studios at the moment and that's what he is probably talking about because he has no idea what 3rd party studios are or will be supporting Stadia.
  • I don't care about your fanboy BS, so no need to get started with that. Getting 3rd party studios to develop new games is only part of the battle, especially when we're talking about an unproven platform. Microsoft has the advantage of having thousands of games available on day 1, which includes old games from the original Xbox to new current AAA games. Google simply can't match this content library from the start, it'll take them time to build it up. Microsoft also has the advantage of having gaming hardware. 3rd party developers are always going to target the Xbox since it's a proven platform. This means xCloud will be targeted at the same time and if for some reason the service fails, they have traditional hardware and PC to fall back on. Don't get me wrong, I'm not discounting Google. They just have the challenge of being a newcomer in an already competitive market. Stadia needs to be proven as a viable platform before all developers jump on board. I'm interested in finding out what kind of revenue model they're going with. I'm not sure how many people will be willing to buy a streaming title versus renting it or having a Game Pass/Netflix type library to subscribe to.
  • I'm not sure what "fanboy BS" you're talking about. I've been talking the importance of content and exclusives for years while often having debates against people who used to downplay the importance of it.
    Unlike load of people I don't change my opinion depending on what a company does and doesn't do... In fact I couldn't care less about google, I only care about games and gaming. Next, I'm not talking about MS's ability to get 3rd party support, I'm talking about Google's potential, and so far none of us really know it. The only thing we know for certain is that MS has bigger 1st party content and studios. And that's what the comment should logically be about.
  • Google will have to convince devs to support Google's Linux distro. 1. Cloud isn't the solution to everything.
    2. Can we sell games on Stadia? Will kids buy'em? @ $60?
    3. Sub business model? Will publishers offer their games on Stadia day1?
    4. Ads business model? Same concerns + can it cover the electricity bills generated by better-than-top-tier-gaming HW? As a developer, pay per use? Or free? How about 10 cpus/gpus per game session?
    5. Who knows Google won't drop the service like it drops G+, tons of messengers, Inbox, Android IOT, Nearby and many others?
    6. etc, etc. So, yeah, the investment & return looks kinda vague. The bigger the studio is the bigger the barrier is.
    It could be a different story if Google runs Windows on their server. * Xbox already has xb OG/360/1/Mixer games. And BC, FC, XPA, xvc, xCloud (+ outatime, kahawai, font API, touch API, more servers and undersea cables).
  • Pot calling the kettle black.
  • The difference is MS platform doesn’t require anything special. Google’s does which is his point about the content. I feel this is going to be another OUYA.
  • How can this be even compared to a OUYA? There is a bit of difference between the guys who made OUYA and the guys who owns Stadia. Google is a little bigger financially. They have little more potential in getting third party support and looks like they are offering a little more power that will help little more 3rd party support than what a OUYA offered.
  • the comparison is Google requires games to be made for their platform. All other streamers do not require developers to make games specifically for their streaming platform. They're streaming PC games that are already made for a given market. No additional work for the developer.
  • When does “content” means exclusives? It means the existing library Microsoft can offer on the cloud which is thousands of games at this point.
  • So you know what Google can offer? How many games it can offer?
    Do tell... :)
  • They have to start from scratch, they can't offer Xbox 360 or Original Xbox games and even Xbox One games because next-generation machines are around the corner. It's not hard to understand.
  • Because Assassin's Creed Odyssey is not an Xbox one game...
    Everyone knows that a powerful machine cannot run games that requires lower specs...
    Please don't bother replying me if it is to come up with that type of replies.
    Didn't you say you were going to ignore me from now on?
  • Do you realize that Xbox One launched in 2013 and there are thousands of games on the system? Do you really believe thousands of games will launch on Google Stadia this year? From all I've heard it'll be a handful of new games like Doom Eternal and more, which are coming out in the future. Only a select number of old titles will make their way to the system.
  • Additionally, Google Stadia requires 20 GB per hour. With data limits in the United States, this makes it out of reach for many gamers. Maybe you should look at all of the issues before making statements like this and trying to pick fights.
  • Google have stated 4K is workable at 30Mb/s, so that equates to around 13.5GB's an hour, 1080P (at 25Mb/s) is approximately 11GBs per hour.
  • I wouldn’t trust them on that because right now it can’t even run at 1080p 60 FPS. Digital Foundry says something else and Phil Harrison says something else.
  • What does lack of content has to do data limits in the US??? LOL
    Please don't reply me.
  • Because the investment & return looks vague, most publisher won't jump in == much lesser content. Who knows Google won't drop the service like it drops G+, tons of messengers, Inbox, Android IOT, Nearby and many others?
  • Right now, we have way too little information. They have loads of money and potentially they can invest massively. Maybe they are here for the long run maybe not.
  • So if it launches with over 100 games, does that mean that Game pass don't have the content... ?
  • But they could potentially offer a wealth of available PC games, of which there are significantly more to choose from. We literally know nothing. I mean, Google Stadia has Phil Harrison, plus Jade Raymond is heading their in house team so they have that going for them.
  • Oh man. Just another way for Google to spy on us. So cool!
  • If Game Pass and EA/Origin Access can survive on their content, Stadia will be fine. All depends on the price point though and whether there will be anything there that others aren't offering, contrary to what people seem to think exclusives do matter.
  • Oh great point!
    MS and the fans are hyping the content of game pass with their "more is better" and "over 100 games".
    And now they say Google doesn't have the content without even knowing how many games Google will offer...
  • What content? It's all third party, which you can play on switch\pc\ps4\xbox\xcloud\psnow\nvidia cloud\etc. Game Pass\Origin Access works because they release first party games on it.
  • So we are talking of exclusives? Tell me, what was the guy saying about the drought in major exclusives on XB1 vs PS4?
  • Reminds me when they released Android and people said it will never catch on... never underestimate google!. users are loyal to games not game systems and google has all the resources and capability to bring many games as possible.
  • Exactly. The only sure advantage I see MS having here is their first party library and studios. All others can potentially be brought to their system.
  • Having more games, regardless of where they come from, right off the bat is still an advantage no matter how you look at it. And Stadia is likely to come up against the exact same third party issues that Game Pass is only now starting to get away from. at least with xCloud, publishers aren't missing out on sales, as the games are still bought, just like anything else (I'm assuming Stadia is subscription only which seems like the more logical approach, and not individual sales, but we don't know yet).
  • I’ve heard you’ll have to buy $60 games on Stadia.
  • Google also released G+, tons of messengers, Nearby, Android IOT, Q, etc.
    Dead...
    * Imagine enterprise that spent billions and years in Android IOT... Besides... the design of Android is bad. Gogole got lucky tbh, the market had only 2 OSes. Its either iOS or Android. If you don't like iOS, you go with Android. If you don't want to spend premium price for a phone, you go with Android.
    * Technically, WP/M is not a Windows. It runs no UWP/XPA we run on our PC today. And it was late to the party.
    * And it's why MS is doing this "Core" thing right now. So Windows, can support x64, x86, arm64, IOT, AR, MR, Xbox, PC, notebook, 2in1, small size sim-ready-thingy, whatever HW architectures and form factors future might throw at us, with ease.
    * And if Valve don't rebuild their store with the new SDK and urge devs to support appx, Steam will miss out all those new platforms / devices / markets. How bad Android actually is you ask?
    It's an API-all-OEM-can-tamper-OS.
    Pixel3 launched with issues. Update fixed some, but introduced some new ones. Each OEM phones have their own issues.
    Vulkan is unusable because it's still crippled on Galaxies, e.g. Note7/8 and maybe 9 (I'll have to go ask our mobile game teams for confirmation).
    Japanese Androids are among the worst.
    Why is this happening you wonder? Because no one gets to merge their hacks/mods into the master branch. (And most OEMs just want some quick money.) There'll be redo and catchups every time Google pushes a new update.
    That's why update is hard to come by, and sometimes, consumers receives fake updates.
    That's why devs need to QA on 30~40 devices, some even pay external testers.
    * Linux is pretty much on the same boat.
  • You don't sell millions of devices per day with a bad OS. Android is perfect for the market. Giving control to the manufacturers and carriers is exactly what makes Android great and why it snowballed so hard.
  • 10 frames of input lag... Unlike google, cloud gaming is only a small part of Sony\MS gaming department.
  • Right now it's more like a service which you use to grind credits or something. From what I've seen it's not a viable way to play games on the go due to input issues.
  • More likely to be a danger long term to the one trick Sony Pony than Microsofts streaming infrastructure and very deep pockets
  • Sony was the first to market with game streaming.