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Brandon Cole

Google Stadia: The Most Accessible “Console” Ever

Brandon's article touches upon the upcoming Google Stadia cloud gaming service and its accessibility possibilities.

Google Stadia: The Most Accessible “Console” Ever

The recently announced Google Stadia is not, on the surface, something we haven’t seen before. It’s a cloud gaming service, of which there have been several in the past, including the failed Onlive, and the currently-existing Playstation Now. Cloud gaming has, typically, not done very well, as many do not like the idea that you don’t own your games, and thus they could be taken away at any time. Furthermore, the issue of latency always comes up, as many games today rely on quick, sometimes frame-perfect reactions. Whatever their reasoning, people haven’t latched onto systems like this. But for this article, let’s put all that aside for a second. Let’s ignore potential pricing, whatever that may be, and let’s forget about all the cloud gaming arguments, just for a little while. I want to explore instead how Stadia could turn out to be the most accessible “console” of all time.

To be completely fair here, we don’t yet know what Stadia’s store portal will be like yet in terms of accessibility. However, given things we do know, I have reason to suggest that it will likely be completely accessible. Word is that Stadia is going to run on top of Google Chrome, which has, over the past couple years, been made accessible by the commonly-used screen readers out there. If this is true, the store portal will likely just be a web page, or be parsed like one since it’s in a browser window. Even Stadia-specific settings are likely to work this way, though I know there’s at least a chance they won’t. Maybe you click launch, and then you’re brought to a video interface like Onlive used to be, but though I can’t confirm either way, I have reason to believe that won’t be the case.

Based on yet more knowledge we have, I believe that Stadia will indeed function primarily from the web, rather than launching a fancy colorful game-like portal. My reasoning is this. One of the examples of launching a game in Stadia was seeing a trailer on Youtube, then clicking a play button and launching directly into that game within 5 seconds. No Stadia interface first, just the game. This leads me to be relatively sure that Stadia’s entire interface will be web-based, or even if it isn’t, that there will be web-based options.

Next, let’s look at Google’s accessibility track record. Sure, they haven’t always been on board with accessibility every step of the way, but these days it’s hard to deny their efforts. Most of their apps and web apps are completely accessible. Everything from Youtube to Google Docs can be used with a screen reader. I find it difficult to believe that, if there is a web interface, and quite honestly even if there isn’t, accessibility won’t be considered. Even if a game-like interface does exist, there may be accessibility options within that. One never knows, but I think it is quite likely indeed.

Much of this article has been me admitting that we don’t have a lot of information, which is true, but based on what we do know, I do truly believe Stadia has the potential to be the most accessible gaming platform out there. Of course, once we’re in a game, we’re still going to need game-specific accessibility options, but it seems to me that getting into the games we want isn’t likely to be much of a chore. I hope you’ve enjoyed this different take on Google Stadia, and I thank you for reading. Continue to be awesome!

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