Nobody’s perfect — not you, me, nor the massive tech industry. We’ve all had our fair share of bad ideas over the years.
In 2007, it was a bad idea to take on thousands of dollars of student loan debt to work in media, an industry that would implode just over a decade later. In 2003, it was a bad idea to build a website that let users rate the attractiveness of women. Terrible ideas abound. Looking toward 2020, we’re another year older, but it’s hard to say we are another year wiser.
Normally, this column, “Bad Ideas,” deals in hypotheticals. Would your fingers disintegrate if you typed forever? Could — and should — you eat your phone? But this year was crammed full of actual bad ideas — things that the tech industry did, but probably should not have done. A brief survey:
Stadia’s promise to stream games directly to your internet-connected device aims to revolutionize the gaming industry — transforming it from one in which consumers own their video games and consoles to one in which the only things required to game are an internet connection, a monthly subscription fee, and practically any device with a screen. In theory, that could make access to video games easier. But it comes with a hefty trade-off: Stadia opens up consumers to exploitation from their ISPs, exploitation from Google, and, with its reliance on energy-hungry data centers, it could even contribute to climate change like other cloud services.
Stadia is either a Bad Idea for gamers, or a Bad Idea for Google. Only time will tell which one it is.
Stadia is far from global domination. For now, to play on Stadia you need to pay $130 for a Premiere Edition (which comes with a controller and a Chromecast Ultra), $9.99 for a monthly subscription to the Stadia Pro service, and full retail price for the handful of games available at launch. On top of that, Stadia’s streaming technology can’t match the performance of consoles already on the market: Reviewers reported subpar image quality and laggy gameplay…