Stadia is about the future of YouTube, not gaming

Yesterday, Google announced plans for a new game transmission service called Stadia. In addition to the logo, the controller and a single game – Doom Eternal – the announcement left us with more questions than answers. The main thing in my mind has been the question of why Google needs to be in the gaming business. Is not it enough to master web search, ads and browsers, smartphone operating systems and maps? What part of our lives does Google want to know and not ? And then I realized that we could see it from a wrong perspective: what would happen if Stadia were not a case of Google aggressively entering a new commercial sphere, but rather defensively to protect its existing kingdom?

YouTube has a practical monopoly on user-generated video online. It is the birthplace of creative communities, the place of work for many and the place of landing for a variety of videos related to games. So that we do not forget, the most popular personality of YouTube, PewDiePie, began recording by playing games. Everything from repetitions of competitive electronic sports games to complete games of narrative-guided games, game reviews and curated anthologies of fun moments in games, make their way onto YouTube. That's the status quo, Google is the king. Amazon's Twitch governs the live streaming scenario, but ultimately, YouTube is the place where most of the videos related to the games end.


stadia is about the future of youtube not gaming

My opinion is that the Google Stadia project is motivated, to a greater or lesser extent, by the desire to maintain its predominance as the home of the videogame. As of this moment, Google has more than 200 million registered daily active users who watch game content. That's 200 million pairs of eyes to present ads every day. In 2018, YouTube accumulated more than 50 billion hours of game content. "Games have always been the backbone of YouTube since the platform was founded," says YouTube game director Ryan Wyatt.

From the perspective of a player, YouTube is the lever on which Google will support to arouse interest in its nascent platform of streaming games, but from Google's point of view, the new platform for the transmission of games (no matter how ambitious it may be) is a necessary measure to keep YouTube where it is today.

Taking a long-term view of things, a significant proportion of the games will go to the cloud, whether through the efforts of Microsoft, Sony, Amazon, Nvidia or Valve. And when that transition occurs, it is logical to expect some interruption in the way people share their clips in the game and the type of clips they choose to share. Google's competitors are well positioned to take advantage of this, since Microsoft and Sony have incorporated features to share on their consoles and it is easy to imagine that they will remove YouTube from the equation when everyone has a platform for games in the cloud. At a minimum, it is likely that the popular and currently lucrative subgenre of games without YouTube game comments will transform when almost anyone with a couple of free hours can do so.


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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

It's revealing that when Google wanted to show someone excited by Stadia, he pulled out a YouTuber, MatPat. He spent his time on stage talking about how Stadia builds a greater connection and interaction between the creators of YouTube and his audience, with the games as a backdrop, which is exactly how I think Google sees the whole project. The game is a conduit or a vehicle, which takes you to YouTube as the important destination. Now, I'm not ruling out the obvious motivation of wanting to be early in a new and exciting development in technology and games, but my impression is that YouTube is the top priority for Google.

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