While pre-orderers are streaming in for the Tesla Cybertruck, Google’s game streaming service Stadia is being torn to pieces. The electric SUV with its low-polygon appearance contradicts all hopes of a turnaround and will sell like hotcakes. The streaming service promises 4K graphics but has stumbled at launch. Here are our winners and losers of the week in tech.
Winner of the week: Tesla Cybertruck
Within five days, the number of pre-orders for the Cybertruck has broken through the quarter of a million mark. The Tesla Cybertruck was presented with as much aghast as the iPhone, which was conjured out of the bag as an homage to the “One More Thing” moment. Of course, the Cybertruck doesn’t fit in your trouser pocket. And even the purse with which you’ll need to pay it will hardly fit it there.
Nevertheless, it seems that enough people are convinced that the purchase of the mad six-meter vehicle is the right decision for them. It’s almost ironic that the Cybertruck is booming so strongly, while electric scooter rental company Coup is closing down as its mobility antithesis in Germany.
The Cybertruck is another Tesla wink to the established car industry to finally radically pour new technologies into new products. Only by doing this can the new fully unfold and finally offer potential customers incentives to buy again.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
November 27, 2019
It remains to be seen whether all pre-orderers will actually buy the finished model at the end. The reservation fee is only $100. This is affordable even for people who are not normally Tesla customers. The final price of the Cybertruck could then reduce the number significantly and bring Elon Musk back to reality again. After all, a lot of these pre-orders are just reserving a place in the queue, and have two years to decide if they will actually go through with it.
Loser of the week: Google Stadia
Playing high-definition video games in high graphics settings usually requires the purchase of expensive hardware. Either we need a games console or an appropriately equipped PC. For both of these options, we first have to fork out several hundred bucks and upgrade every few years. With Stadia, Google wants to solve exactly this barrier to entry to high-quality gaming enjoyment.
Meanwhile, the service is live and everyone can buy the starter package consisting of Chromecast Ultra and Controller (picture above) for $129. But early birds will soon see that there are teething problems. If you don’t have an expensive Wi-Fi 5 router and a bold Internet connection of well over 50 Mbps, you’ll quickly get frustrated.
First test reports certify that Stadia functions really well only under laboratory conditions so far. Your Internet connection must be reserved for Stadia alone, as 12GB of data per hour are transferred with Full HD streaming. Even the smallest dropouts during transmission are noticeable when the controller stops or the image becomes black. If you want to immerse yourself in the game world, you will often be pulled out of the experience.
This is annoying, as Stadia thus gambles away its unique selling proposition. In theory, you could pack a Chromecast and a gamepad for long journeys or in hotels or with friends and relatives and quickly start playing; just plug and play. Or you can simply play on any device with a Chrome browser; even in an Internet café. Your game collection is completely in the cloud and the games can be easily started without loading times. But that brings us to the next snag in the matter.
Apart from the technical criticism, the first testers also doubt whether the customers really want to bear the running costs for Stadia. Because after the three months free trial subscription, Google will ask for $10 per month for keeping its cloud servers reachable for you. In addition, not all games from the official list are simply free to play. Some of them you have to unlock for the full retail price of buying the disc. Once linked to your account, this investment remains irretrievably trapped in your Google Account. There is at least family sharing.
Both technically and in terms of the pricing policy, we expect Google Stadia to make many more optimizations. Until then, the cloud gaming platform will face much-justified criticism and will probably not end up under many Christmas trees this year.
Who were your winners and losers of the week just gone? Share your opinions in the comments section below.