Don’t expect Google Stadia VR streaming to become a reality any time soon.
While Oculus Quest and Valve Index have grabbed the VR headlines this year, the gaming industry has been dominated by one topic: streaming. While Microsoft has its Xcloud service on the way, Google is making its play with Stadia. Launching later this year, the platform will let people stream games to a variety of devices. There’s been a lot of speculation on how well it will work, but we’re also wondering if it could ever support VR.
For now, it doesn’t seem so. Google recently published an FAQ for Stadia, which includes a simple mention of VR. “At this time, we have no news to share regarding VR support on Stadia,” the company notes.
Definitely not a yes, then, but more interestingly also not a no either. Google does, of course, have experience in the field of VR with its oft-forgotten Daydream platform. That said, streaming to a VR headset is a very different kind of challenge. Whereas input latency is a concern for traditional games, it’s even more detrimental to VR, where any perceived delay between input and action can cause sickness.
If we had to guess, it would be several years at the very least before Google would be confident to roll out VR streaming through Stadia. If it ever did get there, though, the benefits could be enormous. Imagine an affordable, lightweight VR headset that could stream PC-quality VR with no tether or even the processing innards found in devices like Oculus Quest. That would certainly bring the industry a few steps forward.