Xbox exec says Google Stadia ‘lacking content’

Chief marketing officer dismissive of rival cloud gaming platform

Microsoft says Google’s upcoming cloud game streaming service Stadia is lacking the content required to attract a significant user base.

Revealed at GDC in March and set to launch later this year, Google Stadia will rival Microsoft’s own cloud game streaming platform, Project xCloud.

“Emerging competitors like Google have a cloud infrastructure, a community with YouTube, but they don’t have the content,” Mike Nichols, Xbox’s chief marketing officer, told The Telegraph.

He believes Microsoft’s catalogue of first-party IP, plus its long-standing relationships with software makers and publishers, give it the upper hand over Google.

While Doom Eternal and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey were the only major Stadia titles shown during its GDC reveal, Google did announce the formation of a first-party studio dedicated to making exclusive games for the platform. Titled Stadia Games and Entertainment, it’s headed by industry veteran Jade Raymond.

Stadia games will run on Google’s own servers and be streamed over the internet to various devices including computers, mobiles and TVs, rather than running on dedicated hardware.

Google has partnered with AMD to create a custom 10.7 teraflops graphics chip — more powerful than Xbox One X (6 teraflops) and PS4 Pro (4.2 teraflops) combined, it says.

While Stadia will be able to stream better-than-console-quality games, Google vice president Phil Harrison told Kotaku last month that to play them in 4K at 60 frames per second, a minimum connection speed of 30 megabits per second is recommended.

Microsoft has described its vision for Project xCloud, which will also stream games to multiple devices, as “complementary to the ways in which we use consoles today”.

Nichols likened the base experience to streaming Spotify on a low-quality speaker rather than a dedicated music system. “You won’t necessarily need a device over time,” he said, “but you’ll get the best experience with local processing power [available on a console or computer].”

Project xCloud is expected to be shown off at E3 in June, while public trials are set to begin in 2019.