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Google’s New Video Gaming Streaming Service Raises Questions about Gaming-Related Harm and Addictions

The middle of the week saw a Google executive provide some more information about the technology company’s new video game streaming service. As he told Reuters, game developers may use rival cloud providers and will have to avoid some inappropriate content to be included in the games.

The service, called Stadia, is set to be released by the end of the year. At the time when Alphabet Inc-owned Google officially unveiled the upcoming video game streaming service, the company explained that the service would make playing high-quality video games in the customers’ Internet browser will be quite easy.

Games would operate on the servers of Google, receiving commands from a user’s controller. Video streams will be sent directly on the user’s screen. Vice President Phil Harrison shared in an interview that various data related to the game such as matchmaking tools, player settings, leaderboards, etc. would not necessarily be kept on the servers of the technology company.

However, Mr. Harrison also explained that such a solution could be a double-edged sword as hosting the above-mentioned data elsewhere could make the games load more slowly, or the streaming quality could be worse. He shared that Google is trying to encourage the games’ publisher to bring as much back end as possible to their servers but he highlighted the fact that Stadia could access other public and private cloud services.

No “Adult Only” Content to Be Uploaded, Google Says

Such an approach could limit the revenue that Google could get from Stadia. At this stage, the American technology giant has refused to make comments on the new video game streaming service, but it became clear that one of the main objectives to Stadia is to attract new customers to the paid cloud computing program of Google.

Another question raised was related to the content that would be uploaded. As revealed by Mr. Harrison, Stadia will require games to comply with the content requirements based on the system of the self-regulatory body Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The Vice President of Google further noted that no “Adults Only” content will be uploaded, referring to the requirements of ESRB regarding such content due to real-money gambling, intense violence, pornography, etc.

As revealed by the company, Stadia’s guidelines would not be public.

Issues related to gaming and gambling addiction were also addressed. At the time when the technology giant revealed the video game streaming service, Mr. Harrison was asked whether Stadia would provide parents with the opportunity to control the content, playtime and other aspects of the game, especially considering the growing public concerns regarding gaming and gambling addiction rates.

Technological progress has resulted in a variety of gaming and gambling options, including selling that gaming range on the company’s mobile application store. However, more and more people get involved with real-money gaming options and even develop some addictions which could end up with serious consequences for these individuals and their families not only financially but in many other aspects of life.

For Google, Stadia unites the company’s various efforts in gaming. Now, the technology giant believes that it could grow a significant games market vertical.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.