Story at a glance
- Google recently launched Stadia, a streaming controller that lets a user seamlessly stream and play video games.
- Despite a rocky launch, Stadia has received positive feedback in regard to its gender-neutral features.
- The design of the controller and available colors aim to cater to gamers who do not identify as male.
Streaming services have redefined the entertainment industry. Movies, TV shows and music are all consumed in real-time with limited setup and download time. With these sectors up and running on various streaming platforms, it makes sense that video games are next on the list.
At the front of the market is Google and its newly launched video game streaming technology called Stadia. Stadia is a portable controller that lets the user play across screens, from a computer to a smartphone. It requires no console and will work on a Chrome browser, any TV with Chromecast and Google Pixel devices, according to a CNN summary. As the motto states, you simply “pick up and play.”
As innovative and exciting as the future of gaming is, Stadia’s streaming capabilities aren’t the only groundbreaking feature. It has also made headlines for being designed with the female gamer in mind.
Gaming has long been regarded as a male-dominated field, with poor female character representation fueling a misogynistic game culture. Yet according to Statista, almost half of gamers surveyed in 2019 identify as female. Stadia’s design appears to cater to this demographic. In an interview with CNN Business, Phil Harrison, the Google VP and head of Stadia, confirmed that "Some of our historical competitors in the console space have been a bit more masculine and a bit more mechanical in their approach."
Color is a one major way in which Stadia caters to players of all gender identities. The controller is available in black, white and a “wasabi green” color. CNN cites Isabelle Olsson, a senior designer with Google, explaining that the green color in particular had universal appeal to both men and women.
The physical design of Stadia is also meant for a more diverse audience. In a Google-produced Youtube video, industrial designer Jason Pi took inspiration from a knife handle to develop the prototype for Stadia, making it “super usable” for “small and large hands.”
Despite mixed reviews of Stadia’s performance, it managed to move closer toward more inclusive gaming.