Cloud game streaming is set to become a more competitive marketplace, with Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now soon to be joined by Microsoft’s Project xCloud and upcoming Amazon platform, Project Tempo. That means the market’s first movers have to keep their product current to keep us, the users, happy − and Google is trying to do just that with its latest Stadia update.
Stadia has received mixed reviews since launch, and this latest update attempts to smooth over one or two small wrinkles, as well as adding something to the gaming platform.
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Firstly, gamers will start receiving notifications regarding their connection quality when playing on mobile devices. This is a useful little tweak, as any Stadia player will know that a solid connection is paramount to an enjoyable gaming experience on the platform.
Secondly, Google has added support for 5.1 surround sound when playing games on the web. That’s a useful quality bump for players who wanted more immersive experiences while playing Stadia on the web.
Finally, the addition of an on-screen keyboard for those playing on the web and using a gamepad, is a small but useful quality of life boost. No more fiddly changing between controller and keyboard will save time and effort for Stadia players.
These are small tweaks, not wholesale changes to Stadia, but nonetheless they could make the platform easier to live with.
When we reviewed Google Stadia back in December, we were a little conflicted.
We gave the platform three and a half stars, saying: “Google Stadia’s cloud-streaming service shows a lot of promise, and could be a great option for those who want to game without spending a fortune on a console. But with lots of missing features at launch, Stadia has a long way to go to become a serious challenger to PlayStation and Xbox.”
For Google Stadia to really take its place as a contender in the gaming market, Google will need to keep making additions like this update, as well as adding some breadth and variety to the Stadia game library.