Gamers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles, the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which are set to launch in time for Christmas 2020. It seems games developers are looking forward to the launch too and have been keener to make games for them than streaming platforms like Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud.
According to GDC’s latest annual survey, developers have so far voted with their feet, opting to work on games for the next generation of consoles, rather than all-new streaming platforms.
GDC’s survey found that 11% of developers said they were working on a title for PS5 and nine percent were working on one for Xbox Series X. This compares favourably to the six percent developing a game for Stadia and the three percent currently working on a game for Project xCloud.
So, what’s the reasoning behind this trend?
Firstly, developers have established relationships with PlayStation and Xbox and that’s not the case yet as far as Stadia is concerned. Arguably it’s a surprise Project xCloud has attracted so little interest from devs but that is surely because it has not yet gone to a full release.
When we got our hands on Google Stadia, our team found the game streaming platform packed more promise than actual punch, especially when compared to traditional consoles.
The flexibility of game streaming and the fact gamers might not have to pay for expensive consoles in future, is hugely interesting. However, right now Stadia and xCloud are coming second to traditional native hardware in a number of key performance metrics.
The platforms in-built dependence on a fantastic internet connection is, at present, a bit of an issue. Even with one, there is no guarantee of beating the consoles. As our reviewer wrote: “When my internet connection was good enough to achieve a Full HD picture, the likes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider still don’t look quite as good as they do on my standard PS4. This is likely due to compression, which is inevitable with cloud streaming, reducing the detail of the video footage.”
That connection-dependence could put developers off too – after all they want their games to look their best at all times, as far as possible. While streaming might be the future of gaming, and is likely to get better with the rollout of 5G, consoles still have the upper hand at the moment. That said, the next generation of consoles are set to be expensive too.