One of the itches Google Stadia is trying to scratch is flexibility. Long gone will be the days where people need to make financial investments in hardware in order to experience the latest and greatest video games. One day, we will have a PC-crushing console replacement anywhere in the world on any computer or mobile handset.
But on a recent episode of The Vergecast, Google Senior Vice President of Devices and Services Rick Osterloh revealed the service won’t work on a mobile data connection at launch. Users will need to connect their devices to Wi-Fi or Ethernet in order to use Google Stadia.
This isn’t a deal-breaker, per se, but it definitely takes away from what makes this product so appealing. The flexibility Stadia promises won’t be quite as apparent as we hoped. At least not at first.
Stadia competitor Nvidia GeForce Now allows streaming on mobile data. But to that point, in my experience, it isn’t very reliable on my T-Mobile data connection.
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Plus, Google Stadia will initially be geared toward home streaming where the user has access to Wi-Fi or Ethernet anyway. The Stadia controller will only work wirelessly on the Chromecast Ultra, and the only smartphones that can use the service at first will be the Pixel 2 or newer devices.
It seems Google simply wants people to use Stadia in the most optimal environments until it further develops the product. This can prevent early adopters from developing negative opinions about the product because of an unreliable connection.