Google CEO Sundar Pichai isn’t a “big gamer.”
He admitted as much when to took to the stage at the Game Developers Conference 2019 in San Francisco last week to announce “Stadia,” a big new project from Google to run games on its servers then stream them to users’ devices.
It’s an ambitious goal, and the lack of clarity around pricing, availability, and launch dates didn’t stop it from stealing the show at GDC this year — even if the Google CEO himself wasn’t the perfect spokeperson for it.
That said, Pichai does play some games — and he revealed two of his favourites at the event. What are?
The first is “FIFA 19,” the latest iteration of publisher EA Sports’ immensely popular soccer game. It was awarded a “great” 8.2 score by games site IGN, which described it as “a distinct improvement upon last year’s effort … “FIFA 19’s” simply more fun than recent entries with a level of variety that should only increase its longevity.”
And then there’s “Ashes Cricket,” a cricket simulator game. The 2017 title got a lukewalm 7.0 review from Gamespot, which observed that “very few sports struggle to survive the transition from real-life to video game like cricket does. Cricket is perceived as slow and long; some might even call it a little bit boring. Cricket video games have often suffered similar problems … Ashes Cricket suffers some of these inherent problems as well as a few of its own making, but also manages to capture the heart of the game in a way that few have achieved before.”
Still, it’s no surprise Pichai is a fan of these titles — he’s a self-confessed “huge” fan of both sports, and as a kid he dreamt of being a professional cricketer. As Pichai quipped at GDC: “For those of you who are wondering what cricket is, it’s kind of like baseball, but better.”