Opinion: Sony’s PlayStation 5 event showed what Google Stadia is missing most

This afternoon, Sony took the wraps off their long-anticipated PlayStation 5, and in the process of doing so, they’ve shown what Google Stadia is missing most.

Google Stadia has had our full attention here at 9to5Google since it was first unveiled back in March of last year. Since then, we’ve had a small handful of Stadia Connect events, akin to the popular Nintendo Direct events.

With today’s PlayStation 5 event, Sony has blown away all of the Stadia Connect events combined, in one fell swoop. While some folks were tuned in to learn more about the console itself and its inclusion of features like ray tracing, what’s really managed to sell the PlayStation 5 so far is the one thing Google Stadia hasn’t shown us — good, original games.

So far, Google Stadia has made a small name for itself by allowing players to jump right in to some of the best AAA titles on the market — like Red Dead Redemption 2 and DOOM: Eternal — without needing any dedicated gaming hardware. But what they haven’t been able to do is show the kind of exclusive titles that make buying one console or another so appealing.

Thus far, Google Stadia has only snagged a handful of games as “First on Stadia” timed exclusives, and of these, only Crayta — a tool to create, play, and share new games — has shown how it can be better to play on Stadia.

By stark comparison, side by side with a variety of titles that will likely reach other consoles — including NBA 2K21 which could potentially even arrive for Stadia — Sony unveiled numerous exclusive titles. In the reveal, we saw games from Sony’s own first-party studios, such as Horizon: Forbidden West, as well as bold third-party exclusives like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

We know that Google has been forming multiple teams of gaming industry veterans, including Jade Raymond of Assassin’s Creed fame and Shannon Studstill the executive producer of God of War, to craft both first-party and second-party titles through Stadia Games & Entertainment. However, at this point, these are only promises and ambitions.

In the face of the next generation of gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft, Google Stadia has to fight harder than ever to stay relevant. With the next Stadia Connect event on the horizon, set for later this summer, Google needs to pull out all the stops and start making good on Stadia’s promises of greatness if the fledgling platform is ever going to make an impression on the average gamer.

If they can pull it off, Google Stadia will have one key aspect that makes it immediately better than any next-gen console — Stadia “Base,” able to play any game in up to 1080p, is free, with the only cost being the normal price of the games you want to buy.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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