Bad news for gamers wishing to try out Google Stadia without making any purchases: there will be no beta period for the game streaming service. Google announced Stadia and its ambitious plan for cloud-based gaming at GDC 2019.
Stadia separates itself from other cloud-based gaming services by supporting gameplay on multiple platforms that will allow subscribers to take their games with them wherever they go: they can play on their PCs, laptops and smartphones. However, the technology involved is complicated and has some downsides: for users who want to play games without Wi-Fi, playing a streaming game on Stadia uses up a massive amount of data. There is also no guarantee that users' Internet speeds at home or data coverage elsewhere can even handle the service.
In an interview with Games Radar, Google Vice President and Stadia head Phil Harrison said that Stadia would not receive a beta test period. Although Stadia's precursor, Project Stream, was once available for testing in a small area, allowing users to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey with it, most territories will not have early access to the technology. It's an interesting decision that prompted a larger explanation from Harrison, who made reference to the fact that the complexity of testing and time is important:
"Geographically, the US is the most complex place to test; just because of the size of the country. And actually, Europe – and particularly the UK – are much... relatively, they are relatively easier to launch. So we are not going to do another test in the UK or Europe. If we had time we probably would have done so, but we don't need to."
It almost seems as if Google is so far into the Stadia launch phase, with a release coming up in November, that the company doesn't feel it has the time to allow users to test Stadia properly. Unfortunately, as more information about the service releases, as well as potential problems with it, gamers aren't likely to adopt the technology that early. Although pricing for 4K streaming on Stadia is reasonable, Google recently revealed that even paying subscribers will still have to pay full price for games.
Google has confidence in Stadia's innovative potential, but it is highly unlikely that anyone will subscribe to a service they aren't even sure will work correctly for them. There are many factors well beyond Google's control, such as home Internet speeds, and a beta period would give users a chance to get familiar with the technology to see if it works for them. Without time to test the service, though, it will become increasingly difficult for consumers to pull the trigger on the platform at launch, which could spell trouble for its perception in the wider community.
Source: Games Radar