Before heading up Stadia's product team, Doronichev was a product manager and head of mobile in the early days of YouTube, and he sees a lot of similarities between the services.
"Stadia is built on the same infrastructure, Google infrastructure, that has been delivering search queries and YouTube videos for billions of users out there all over the world over the last decade or two," he said. "So this is one of the things where, I think that, at this point there's no question we can do it."
Players do still have questions about Stadia's stability, of course. The cloud gaming industry is finding its footing in 2020 and every service -- including Stadia, xCloud and GeForce Now -- is figuring out how to deal with game-breaking latency issues and dips in fidelity. Stadia had a rocky start, with many reviewers and early players running into significant problems. We found the service worked fine under ideal conditions, but overall it was spotty as hell.
It's incredibly difficult to tailor one streaming system to every user's end environment, Doronichev explained. It's never just about resolution, framerate, connection speeds or latency alone. He ran into this issue while building YouTube's mobile apps, and it's even more exacerbated with Stadia.
"It will take us time to get there."
"I can draw a parallel with video streaming, which was the previous wave of media," Doronichev said. "We were asking all sorts of questions -- what constitutes a high-quality video session? Is it the resolution? Is it frame rate? Is it delay? Or is it the number of buffering events that interrupt your play session or your video session, in that case? Generally, you want to build a system that can manage connection parameters in a very smart way, adapting to end-user conditions. And conditions include many factors, not just your network."
Google has its eyes on the end result with Stadia. The company has laid out ambitious goals, including seamless 4K streams and games shareable via links, and so far it's missed more than it's hit. However, Doronichev reminded us, Stadia has only been out for three months.
"We went ahead announcing our vision, which is big, and it will take us time to get there," Doronichev said. "This is fine. This is great. This is what it's all about, right? It's not just about some marginal improvements, it's not about a specific feature. It's about a big, bold statement of where we are going. We're going there very, very confidently. So judging by the velocity so far, if anything, I'm more confident in our ability to deliver and over-deliver."
Surely, Stadia players would be happy with just "deliver" first.
Nick Summers contributed to this report.