Article note: As a happy owner of an Anbernic RG351p running AmberElec, the "Android" part isn't important, and frankly the "streaming" part isn't that important either, but a convenient device with a physical controller that can emulate our now-vast cultural heritage of "older" video games is a lovely thing. Especially in the sub $200 range.
It's not every day that you see the attempted birth of an entirely new category of video game hardware. But it feels like that's what we're seeing this month with the announcement of the Logitech G Cloud and the Razer Edge 5G handheld gaming systems.
While these devices (and somewhat similar emulation-focused handhelds like the AYN Odin) have their differences, they share Qualcomm SnapDragon internals, an Android-based OS, and vaguely Switch-like hardware designs. And while these devices can natively run games designed for Android phones (for whatever that's worth), the main focus seems to be streaming portable versions of high-end console and PC games through various cloud-gaming providers or in-home streaming options.
It's too early to know how well these handhelds will serve their stated purpose, or how much actual market demand there is for dedicated portable devices that primarily play games hosted on remote servers or platforms. Still, we can't help but compare and contrast this new hardware design trend with the last major (failed) attempt to create a new category of gaming hardware: the microconsole.
Article note: Least surprising announcement ever.
I got one of the freebie controller + Chrome Cast Ultras they offered to YouTube Premium customers, half to play with it and half because I expected it to be short-lived and turn into a collector's item. The system is a _staggering_ technical accomplishment with tons of (unnecessary) complexity... and basically no realistic use-case, especially since everyone suspected it would get shut down in short order.
Impressive (and surprising) that they're refunding everyone out instead of leaving them in the lurch - maybe the bean-counters determined the liability for the rug-pull would cost more than the refunds since they were actively denying shutdown as recently as July.
The moment everyone saw coming is finally happening. Google has officially confirmed that it's killing Stadia, the company's troubled game-streaming service. Phil Harrison announced today in a blog post that Stadia "hasn't gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service." Stadia will be laid to rest on January 18, 2023.
The good news is that the true Armageddon situation for Stadia customers is not happening. Google is issuing refunds, which will save dedicated Stadia players from losing potentially hundreds of dollars in lost games. The post says: "We will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store." That notably excludes payments to the "Stadia Pro" subscription service, and you won't get hardware refunds from non-Google Store purchases, but that's a pretty good deal. The controllers are still useful on other platforms, too.