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Opinion | Gaming laptops are becoming less attractive because of Google Stadia and external graphics cards

Gaming laptops are becoming less attractive because of Google Stadia and external graphics cards (Image source: 9to5google.com)
Gaming laptops are becoming less attractive because of Google Stadia and external graphics cards (Image source: 9to5google.com)
It's becoming more difficult to justify carrying around a laptop with GeForce RTX 2080 graphics when you can simply harness that power from the cloud or an external GPU docking station. Alternatives like eGPUs and game streaming services will make conventional gaming laptops a hard sell in the near future.

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One of the main selling points of dedicated gaming laptops is the ability to play demanding PC titles on-the-go. If you're regularly waiting between classes, waiting for a flight, or have a small bedroom apartment or dorm room, a gaming laptop would likely fit your lifestyle better than a full-fledged PC or netbook for all your gaming needs.

Fast-forward to 2019 and there are now more ways than ever to play games. The advent of external GPU docking stations (eGPU) and upcoming game streaming services like Google Stadia or Project xCloud are putting a dent on the practicality of traditional gaming laptops. The capability to stream games on almost any laptop at a coffee shop, school university, or airport means you won't need to lug around all that computing power of a gaming laptop everywhere you go. Meanwhile, an eGPU solution like the Aorus Gaming Box can transform even the most reposeful Ultrabook into a 4K gaming machine when gaming at home. The value of a dedicated gaming laptop has become much less attractive when there are other options available that allow super-light laptops like the Dell XPS 13, XPS 15, or HP Spectre 13 to game nearly as well or even better than the heavier and pricier MSI GS65, Asus Zephyrus S GX531, Alienware m15, or Razer Blade 15.

Of course, we're not claiming that the likes of Stadia or eGPUs will outright murder gaming laptops. Streaming services require a steady high-speed internet connection that many public areas have yet to provide while eGPU solutions tend to have poorer performance-per-dollar with more performance bugs. Furthermore, more and more users are turning towards gaming laptops not to game but to exploit their raw performance potential for other demanding applications like CAD, video encoding/decoding, and graphics editing work. 

Even so, game streaming services and eGPU docking stations will inevitably improve over time as they mature to become more lucrative alternatives for gamers. Full-fledged gaming laptops, no matter how big or small, will likely become increasingly niche as a result.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 09 > Gaming laptops are becoming less attractive because of Google Stadia and external graphics cards
Allen Ngo, 2019-09-28 (Update: 2019-09-29)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.