Why Australia missed out on Google's long-awaited cloud gaming platform
Google's long-awaited cloud gaming platform officially launched this week, but the revolutionary subscription service appears to need some tweaks before hitting Australia.
The service streams cloud-based games in the same way someone would watch content from Netflix; removing the need for a console, or to downloaded and updated titles.
Google's service also spruiks the ability to pick up a controller and stream games using smartphones, web browsers or wirelessly through a Chromecast, with the title picking up exactly where you left off.
The service launched for early adopters in 14 countries across the US, the UK and Europe, with Australia yet to be given any official launch date for the cloud gaming platform.
Australia missing out is likely attributed to the lack of local back-end architecture and our problematic internet connection speeds.
Google says Stadia will be able to stream 4K video with high dynamic range colours at 60 frames of animation per second – as long as you have an internet speed of at least 35Mbps.
The tech giant said the minimum recommended speed for Stadia is 10Mbps, which will deliver 720p video with stereo sound. A resolution of 1080p is achievable with a connection of 20Mbps.
According to the Speedtest Global Index, Australia's fixed broadband average is 38.54Mbps at the time of writing. Comparatively, the US has average speeds of 119Mbps, and the UK has 61Mbps.
While dwarfed by the average fixed broadband speeds of launch countries, Australia appears to have enough bandwidth to hypothetically stream games on Stadia in 4K.
However, these average speeds suffer during the peak 7pm to 11pm timeframe, with only the most expensive premium internet plans able to achieve the required bandwidth.
This could be a huge problem for Google Stadia in Australia, with early users – in countries with much higher internet speeds – already complaining of lagging, poor graphics and syncing issues with the service on connections below 35Mbps.
One of the biggest complaints has been latency - the time difference between your finger pressing a button and the game reacting to it – rendering fast-paced games almost unplayable.
Google has since addressed the concerns, saying it's "optimistic" about "minimising lag concerns even further".
"We are working on lowering the end to end latency with our scaled deployment including streaming algorithms and proprietary hardware," the company said in statement.
The way to currently access Stadia is to live in a supported country and purchase the $A190 Premiere Edition, which includes a Chromecast Ultra, Stadia controller and a three-month subscription to Stadia Pro.
This gives access to the 22 free games currently available at launch, with popular titles including Red Dead Redemption 2 and Final Fantasy XV. Titles not included in the subscription will have to be purchased separately.
With no Australian release date from Google, gamers will have to hope these issues are ironed out before a local launch.
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