Google's Cache

Google is looking to offer a checking account in the US.

Like the other big tech players making moves in this space, Facebook’s Libra :link: and Apple’s own payment and credit card solutions, they are expanding the amount of data they can see and process to better understand you.

Google, like Facebook, has existing payment solutions and a banking licence they haven’t really used much. It seems the large tech firms are not developing all the tech inhouse as a lot of experts feared (in the financial space anyway) but rather they are partnering with existing providers.

This could be for speed of deployment, lowering their upfront capital and risk, or it could be to learn as quickly as possible from the existing firms and then outgrow their solutions.

I expect 2020 is going to see more financial solutions and innovations coming from the the FAANG.

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Never mind Google current accounts, I am more intrigued by Google Stadia. If they can crack cloud gaming, that could be huge - no need for expensive consoles or computers anymore, or constantly buying new games. A decent computer and broadband is all you need. It has the potential to be hugeeeeeee!

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Interestingly I’m not that bullish on Google Stadia.

The remote gaming industry already has a few big players, who are much closer and more embedded with the gaming industry. Nvidia, Steam, and I expect the VR companies to get more involved (to reduce load on their own hardware.) This doesn’t include the console publishers who watch the space closely as hardware becomes obsolete quicker and quicker.

There are a few concerns I have for Stadia.

Firstly the games you own don’t transfer over, this means you need to rebuy your gaming library, for someone like me this is a huge barrier to entry. This also means Google will need to replace your current gaming needs currently and going forward, meaning they are entering the game distribution space which is a very heated space, not to mention hugely fragmented and getting worse.

Secondly, the technology is fairly smart, the controller goes straight to Google’s servers cutting out connecting to your machine before going to their servers. I really like the approach of your inputs going direct, and then the screen display coming direct. However, you are still working against your WiFi. Google claims to aim for negative ping by using smart AI to predict your inputs, an extremely bold claim and one that might actually trigger anti cheat solutions that modern triple A games come with.

Third, they are behind on exclusives. A lot of the mega publishers have their own distribution channels, and looking at the Epic store they are paying out millions to get extended exclusivity. Will gamers reduce their choice of stores (you can have multiple on PC, with Stadia you are locked in) when it doesn’t give them a benefit? A lot of the existing distribution channels are offering subscriptions to get unlimited access to their games e.g. Origin Store.

I like the idea of playing games anywhere using a shared library, but for now this isn’t giving me any major advantages.

The easy of use looks like a huge plus, but the existing competition isn’t far behind and I don’t think Google’s USP with how the controller works to reduce lag will be unique forever.

Stadia for me is a great innovation and pushes the industry forward, but it’ll be too expensive for me to move over my library currently. It’s innovative but as a consumer it’s not an attractive enough proposition for me.

Happy to be wrong on this though! If they achieve what the marketing claims and get over the issues with your library then it will be something extremely special.

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Based on that summary, it sounds like they might be targeting a slightly different segment of consumers than people like you initially. Is there anyone that you can see it working for?

Always a possibility!

The pickup and play aspect where it’s just buy a controller and get a subscription (or buy the individual games) seems a very nice solution. I can see this being a solution for console players

It’s a lower price point, less upgrading every generation, and you get all the latest games. For a parents buying for kids or a causal gamers who wants to enjoy the big triple A releases it might a good solution. Don’t need to shell out for a new console and then pay the console internet connectivity fees on top.

That said consoles are trying to get more into the home entertainment segment, to diversify their use and make it more central to your living room habits.

It’s a great piece of innovation but I think they will struggle to find a fit outside a core audience.

£8.99 a month which gives you better resolution and sound and occasional free games, that is a very high price. You still need to buy the games you want at full retail price. If you get the base edition you have lower graphical quality and stereo sound. It’s also locked in at 60fps too regardless of package.

If you are comparing this against a console you are saving on the space of the console but losing out on the utility they are attempting to bring. If you are comparing to PC the cost is drastically less but again it’s a multi functional machine and you have vendor choice on PC.

I’ll be watching it closely but I am worried. I do have friends who like gaming and currently use a solution like Shadow to turn their work laptop into something that can handle games, and they were extremely keen on Stadia, until they saw they would have to rebuy their library.

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In fact perfect timing for this!

They seem calculated to take the wind out of Google’s sails; the opening lineup of Stadia … was finalized earlier this week and is rather bare bones. Microsoft is hoping Google’s first-mover advantage will be nullified by the expected confusion around payments, features, titles and other issues Stadia is still working out.

Microsoft will have the same issue as Google in terms of locking into a distribution channel but they will have the advantage of their existing game store for PC and naturally Xbox too. While it’s a different offering to Stadia they will be fighting for the same customers in the end of the day.

I find the gaming and streaming industries incredibility exciting both as an investor and consumer!

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HL have The Telegraph’s review of Google Stadia, it sounds like the controller performs pretty well (although not perfectly), the rest of the TL;DR is what Al said :slightly_smiling_face:

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Surprisingly straightforward interview with Google’s Vice President they’re very honest about the fact that this isn’t revolutionary and instead they see it as a starting point for them -

It’s fair to say that the launch hasn’t gone as well as they would have hoped. It’s one thing to manage expectations (as they did) but they still seem to have overpromised about performance.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-11-25-google-issues-statement-after-stadia-owners-say-it-broke-promises-over-game-performance

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