Google Stadia: Price, Games, Availability, and my thoughts
Google announced the game streaming platform and service Stadia earlier this year while Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are preparing new console launches.
Stadia streams games to compatible devices instead of relying on a device's processing powers. Streaming requires an Internet connection with at least 10 Mbps but no dedicated console to play the games.
One of the main advantages of game streaming is that games can be played on nearly any device type including mobile phones, PCs, or TVs.
Google promises game streams in up to 60 fps and 4K resolution, HDR support, and 5.1 surround sound but locks the higher end specs behind a subscription-based service called Stadia Pro.
Stadia Base and Pro
Stadia will be offered as a free version, called Stadia Base, and a subscription-based version, called Stadio Pro.
Stadia Base, as the name suggests, offers a limited experience. The free version supports game stream resolutions of up to 1080p at 60 fps and stereo sound. Free users need to purchase their games as none are provided for free.
It is unclear whether Stadia customers may bring games that they own to Stadia, or if the service requires that games are purchased on the platform.
Stadia Pro is available for $9.99 per month. It allows game stream resolutions of up to 4K at 60 fpps and supports 5.1 surround sound. Free games are provided to paying customers, starting with Destiny 2: the Collection. Google promises exclusive discounts on select game purchases next to that.
A Stadia Founders Edition is currently available for preorder. It guarantees access to Stadia at launch, includes a Night Blue Stadia Controller and a Google Chromecast Ultra, and three months of Stadia Pro for $129.
Customers do get a Buddy Pass with the purchase which they may give away to a friend for three months access to Stadia Pro.
Google plans to ship the Founders Edition in November 2019.
Stadia initial games support
Google confirmed that the following games will be available for purchase on Stadia.
- DRAGON BALL XENOVERSE 2
- DOOM Eternal
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
- Destiny 2
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Metro Exodus
- FINAL FANTASY XV
- Rage 2
- Tomb Raider Trilogy
- SAMURAI SHOWDOWN
- Football Manager 2020
- Get Packed
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- The Crew 2
- The Division 2
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey
- Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Just Dance
- Trials Rising
- NBA 2K
- Borderlands 3
- Farming Simulator 19
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Darksiders Genesis
- Device agnostic, runs on any compatible device including smartphones, TVs, and computers.
- Initial expenses kept to a minimum: controller seems to be required but no dedicated console hardware.
- Free version Stadia Base provided.
- Requires an online connection, no offline play.
- Requires at least 10 Mbps, best experience at 35 Mbps and up.
- Stadia Controller requires a Wi-Fi Network and a mobile device running Android 6.0 or iOS 11 or later.
- Just one free game initially for Stadia Pro customers.
- No mouse or keyboard support revealed so that certain genres cannot be played at all.
Closing Words and verdict
Stadia offers advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional gaming platforms such as the Xbox, Switch, Playstation, or PC.
The main advantage of Stadia is that it does not require dedicated hardware except for a compatible controller. Expenses are kept down because of that and the initial total to get started is significantly lower than that of dedicated console systems. A Stadia controller is available for $69 as a separate purchase and that is the only hardware expense if an Android or iOS smartphone is available.
Games will probably cost as much as they cost on other platforms.
Several disadvantages and uncertainties exist as well, however. Games can be played only when you are online and if the Internet connection is reliable enough to push 10 Mbps or more. The initial selection of games is fairly limited, and it is not clear if customers can bring their own games to the platform or if games need to be purchased for exclusive use on the Stadia platform.
Gamers who already own games on other platforms may not be tempted to switch to Stadia or use it side-by-side with other platforms if they cannot bring their games over. Still, Stadia could be an interesting option to some, especially if the game catalog grows quickly, includes next-gen games, and that games are reasonably priced.
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