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.
Now You: What is your take on Google Stadia?
I’m not much of a gamer, but let’s say some really nice game comes along that I’d like to play, but requires real graphical horsepower. Seems that if lag isn’t an issue, this is an affordable solution.
I know gamers really are pissed about this (see Gamer’s Nexus channel), since it threatens to obsolete a lot of their investments. But I think they don’t need to worry about that much, this isn’t really aimed at high end gamer market, but at the more affordable end of it.
However, it’s clear why this, if lag is not a problem, is going to be a success: blame nVidia and their absolutely ridiculous prices. With any luck, nVidia is really going to get hurt by this. Looking forward to that and seeing their prices back to reasonable levels.
I don’t see this as a problem for NVidia since Google will buy tons of GPUs to build and run Stadia. On the other hand, PC gaming and console manufacturers probably lose sales due to this.
this service will use graphic processing solutions provided by AMD
I remember I tried OnLive, and played The Darkness (2?). It worked decent, on a 1Gbps symmetrical connection, and a decent desktop at that time. I personally prefer to have the game locally, and offline with no DRM nonsense, especially if I go out on a vacation for example, where I usually rely on my phone’s data transfer.
Also, hosting few users should be no problem, but hosting a larger number, such as Steam’s userbase, I kind of doubt even Google has the needed infrastructure for something like this. And really, it does not seem feasable, sharing a server’s most resources among many different users is fine (CPU, RAM and I/O), but good luck sharing even a high-end GPU to more than one person playing something, like METRO, at 2160p resolutions.
Is this the future of computing ? Companies run the software, we only have terminals ? Is there no reason to worry here ?
Gaming != Computing
@Anonymous: “Is there no reason to worry here ?”
I think that there is. The major software companies are trying to move everything they can into being a “service” for a number of reasons (primarily to prevent piracy and to enhance monetization). I see no reason why this trend won’t continue into the future.
On the plus side, that trend is far from universal — it mostly just applies to the major software companies — so those of us who don’t want SaaS things will continue to have options.
No doubt games will be regularly punctuated by ads since Google isn’t going to miss the opportunity of making a few extra $$$s on the side, not to mention the chance to vacuum up even more user data to sell on to whoever is prepared to put money on the table.
They don’t have ads or track in their premium services. Like YouTube Premium, G Suite etc, what are you talking about?
you had me up until
“Free users need to purchase their games as none are provided for free”
how is that free?
Well the Stadia account is free.
my eyes lit up when I read “Stadia will be offered as a free version, called Stadia Base”
I thought to myself “they are going to provide a service for free”
until I got to the next paragraph were it clarifies that the gameplay streaming part of the service is anything but free
I wonder if there will be any perks for Stadia Base users who do not purchase games (such as a few free games)
Google: “here is a free account but you cannot do anything with it unless you pay for some games”
that is like telling people they can have free ice cream but when they go to claim it, only the cone is free,
the ice cream itself is paid for and if you thought that at least you got a nice wayfer cone, you are wrong
because the cone itself is made out of a non-edible material so you cannot even eat that either
ultimately, you got nothing for free
in the age of aggragated user data and ad funded online services,
there is a certain expectation that online services provided will be ‘free’
Base account is free and they pay out of their pockets the cost of the hardware games run and the cost of streaming. Why? They hope to get back some money from selling games.
I was hoping that the ‘free’ Stadia Base service would provide at least some free streaming gameplay,
even if just for a month
google and its habit of killing their own services within a few years.. that would be the greating risk.
That’s a myth, the crown of killing services, software, even operating systems goes to Microsoft.
Google annoyingly killed the Google Tasks webpage recently and I was sorry to see the end of Google+.
I also really liked my Lumia Windows phone.
My Microsoft Band is a great fitness tracker although MS have killed support for that. I did get a Â£60 rebate though which was more than I paid for it.
@Doomlord. You have no idea how much money I have lost by buying a HTPC and a TV Tuner certified for Windows Media Center. At least this new Stadia hardware is cheap lol. I don’t understand why people use this stereotype for Google and never mention Microsoft’s machete which has always been more sharp. At least Google is killing free stuff lol.
you were sorry to see the end of Google+?
Hey Google, bring Fiber to my place and then I’ll give Stadia a try. Cause my ISP is shit and unreliable.
well where do you live? :)
Unless the games on Stadia are 5-10 times cheaper compared to Steam, Stadia isn’t going to take over anything.
I see Stadia is open now, at least with “Stadia Premiere Edition”, whatever that is.
They don’t have many games, but I like much of what they have, although I have already played them.
They are also getting Cyberpunk 2077, whenever that comes out, perhaps in 2077? Ha.
What is your take on Google Stadia?
Google says: “Play when you want, where you want with Stadia Premiere Edition.”
Ha, as if that’s all true.. NOT! Users are already reporting they can’t log on and/or are getting slow speeds, and this service is only available in certain areas.
Games as a cloud service = They want to control and track you
I think it would be best if we all boycott this.