The CEO and co-founder at American startup Rainway, Andrew Sampson, expressed his annoyance at Google over the various claims which the organization made throughout its first showing of Stadia on Tuesday.


Mr. Sampson, an industry veteran, voiced his negative opinion on almost every aspects of the newly released platform from an originality point of view, noting about the way Rainway has been releasing high-fidelity streaming services for video games with low latency for over two years, without bragging or making any kind of claims about being the very first to achieve that goal.

Almost laughable claims of quality

Google’s Stadia

The current performance level of Stadia is described by Mr. Sampson as "overblown", especially when we see how some company officials cited the new Project Stream attempt executed in association with Ubisoft which let some testers play their game Assassin Creed: Odyssey through their browsers. This experiment was described by the organization as if the game performed at a consistent 60 frames per sec at 1080p, while the truth was less impressive. The stream, according to the testing done by Rainway themselves, would usually be capped at 30 frames per second, and downscaled to 720p from time to time.

Assassin Creed: Odyssey using Stadia

The CEO also noted that the choice to make the Stadia controller a gadget meant only for wi-fi was just prone to trouble with unresponsiveness and latency. He continued criticizing the style which Google chose for presentation, blaming the organization of devaluating the GDC concept through bombarding the crowd with buzzwords like teraflops, 8K, and AI, all seemed irrelevant to the question - how well the streaming platform performs and what kind of experience it brings to the targeted audience.

According to Sampson, Google's emphasis on middleware implies that Stadia won't be compatible with existing storefronts, which means its potentials are further limited.

"The entire keynote so far has sounded like the BORG wanting you to assimilate into the cloud. Embrace the cloud, give up your console/pc, give up your control over games,"  tweeted Sampson on Twitter.

Why does it seem so familiar?

Mr. Sampson compared Stadia with OnLive, a startup in the streaming business which used to be close to the Moutain View campus of Google. Similar to OnLive, it seems that Stadia itself does not know where it belongs, if it is a console, a content platform, a service, or just a middleware, said the executive. OnLive was deactivated in the middle of 2015 while striving to compete against Gaikai by Sony, which later acquired its patents and used it to power one of their services - PlayStation Now.

OnLive provided a similar service years ago

When it comes to Google’s idea about machine learning and their plan of incorporating it into the bigger vision regarding Stadia, Rainway’s CEO said they did not even deserve an eye-roll. He also rejected the claims regarding how hacking/cheating is supposed to be impossible with Stadia, pointing out how clickers, aimbots, and other identical issues work independently, therefore the only possible method to avert them is to employ HDCP, which consecutively cripples streaming, a core part of Stadia.

Mr. Sampson concluded: "I'm thrilled to see the space I love evolving, but this is just the wrong way to do it; Google wants to take away your freedom and choice; They want you to give up your consoles/PCs, they don't understand openness built the games we love," 

Remaining questions

Google has not even mentioned pricing issues during their GDC announcement, and only stated that Stadia will be arriving in the majority of Europe as well as North America sometime later.

To no one’s surprise, the service is desperately in need of publisher-developer support, with Ubisoft and id Software as the only game companies that seems to be coming along for the time being. The role of Ubisoft is also up to debate, they are the same organization which has been fighting nonstop with Valve’s Steam for more than seven years, and now they are supposedly supporting Google in their efforts to replace all hardware for gaming, or at the very least turn everything that has an Internet connection and a screen into a normal console.