Will Google’s Stadia enter eSports broadcasting arena?

Google has announcing it’s entering the world of eSports with Stadia, a new video game cloud platform announced at GDC 2019.

Google also owns YouTube, which is already home to a wide variety of eSports screencasts and streams, but notably competes against Twitch in this area, an Amazon subsidiary. 

However, Google has its eyes on bigger aspects of eSports, including putting processing in the cloud, putting it up against PlayStation Now (formerly Gaikai). Microsoft also has plans to debut a similar service called xCloud on its Azure platform and Nvidia and Steam Link Valve have also thrown their hats into the arena.

Stadia will also require users to be outfitted with a proprietary controller that will connect via wi-fi rather than Bluetooth. 

Google is also planning integration with its Chrome browser as well as allowing viewers to become participants almost instantly — which would be a key differentiator between more passive streaming-only services such as the current YouTube and Twitch.

All that said, it’s not immediately clear how or if Google’s Stadia will cross into the live streaming world or broadcast tournaments and gameplay, including large scale eSports events, though it seems like a distinct possibility, assuming Stadia’s reach grows wide enough, that would become a natural evolution of the platform. 

Today, top players and teams of popular video games often attend large tournament-style events that are then, in turn, broadcast to a global audience, typically via streaming.

The biggest of these events have risen to become full fledged broadcast productions that rival TV sportscasts — with real time graphics displaying player stats and data and even augmented reality characters from the games.