Google unveiled their new video game streaming service today, Stadia. Think of it like Netflix for video games -- you wouldn't need to own any hardware other than the screens you already have (your laptop, phone, smart TV). You simply (presumably) buy a subscription to the service, a fancy Google controller, and you can play 4K HD 60fps games anywhere.
This is a direction that the video game market is naturally poised to move toward, where big tech companies can perform all the number-crunching on their servers and simply stream the resulting video to your screen. Microsoft is working on a competing service, called xCloud.
There are downsides to this approach, of course, the most obvious one being latency. It takes time to send your commands to one of Google's servers, have the server perform whatever calculations it needs to do to render the next frame, then send that frame back to you. Gamers on Twitter have decried the lack of any mention of the "L" word during Google's announcement.
Streaming video games also means that you don't own a physical copy of the game, which bothers some. If a publisher decides to pull all their content from Stadia, could you do anything about it? What rights do you have as a subscriber?
I'm very interested in where this is headed, but I have a feeling it might take a while to catch on. Anyway, it will certainly open up a new niche for gamers and game studios alike. What are your thoughts?