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