On March 19, Google revealed the service that has already been nicknamed “Netflix for Games.” Perhaps this comparison is not entirely correct, because Google Stadia can revolutionize the world of video games, comparable, for example, to the transition to 3D graphics in the late nineties. But so far there are more questions than answers about the service.
Google Stadia release date
In March, Google presented a kind of concept, postponing a detailed presentation for the exhibition of the computer games industry E3 2019 in June this year in Los Angeles. Before it, it was announced that Stadia will be launched in November this year in 14 countries: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. In October 2019, a post appeared on the official Google developer blog stating that the service would be officially launched on November 19 this year. In 2020, the list of countries in which the service is supported will be expanded. Unfortunately, it is not known when and in what form the Stadia will reach Russia.
Google Stadia pricing
At the first presentation, neither the price tag nor the distribution model was named. But by June, Google had decided how it was going to sell the service. So, a Stadia Pro subscription will cost $ 10 (650 rubles) per month. Next year, there will be a Stadia Base version with a different monetization model. There will be no monthly payments, but you will have to buy each game separately, and you will not be able to play in the coveted 4K resolution. They will ask for $ 70 (4600 rubles) for a branded gamead. You can also purchase the exclusive $ 130 Founder’s Edition Pack, which includes a Night Blue controller, Chromecast Ultra adapter, three months of 2, and Destiny 2. This pack gives you access to a library of Stadia games that are streaming user in 4K @ 60 fps resolution. After completing it, the user will receive an email with a notification and an account activation code. Google promises to accept pre-orders for Stadia access packages up to the full launch of the gaming platform.
Google Stadia features
Google Stadia is a one-stop solution for streaming gaming on any device. For example, at the March presentation it was shown how a game session can be started on a computer, and then continued on a smartphone or TV. Google will use the Chrome browser as a software part, i.e. compatibility must be with all modern operating systems.
As they assure Google, users of the service will not need powerful hardware on their side. Google Stadia servers will be responsible for performance. Their main feature is that each gamer will receive a separate computing unit, which can be called a separate computer. The block includes a 2.7 GHz processor with an unknown number of cores, a video card with 56 blocks, HBM2 memory and 10.7 TFLOPS performance and 16 GB of memory.
|10.7 teraflops of power||Custom x86 Processor||16GB of total RAM|
|56 compute units||2.7 GHz||Up to 484GB / s transfer speed|
|HBM2 Memory||Hyperthreaded||L2 + L3 Cache of 9.5MB|
The main thing that a gamer will have to provide for the service to function at maximum graphics settings is an Internet channel at a speed of 30 Mb / s. This, according to Google, will be enough to run Assassins Creed: Odyssey on your TV in 4K quality at 60 fps. By the way, in the future the developers promise fantastic 8K and 120 fps.
Google Stadia Pro, which will launch later this year, supports 4K 60fps game streaming with HDR and 5.1 surround sound. Pro will have a number of free games, for other titles you will have to buy in addition to the subscription.
However, even before the release of the console, the question arose about the willingness of providers and their networks to pass the huge traffic that Stadia users would generate. After all, as calculated by PCGamer, it will take only 65 hours at 2160p or 113 hours at 1080p to exhaust 1 TB of data. And this is a real problem, because in many Western countries there are simply no unlim tariffs, which are common in Russia. And in our country, with the arrival of the service, providers can introduce some kind of restrictions on the amount of transmitted and received information.
Google could not help but announce the integration of Stadia with other services of the corporation. The main focus will be on YouTube. When watching a stream, the user can click on the “play now” button and go directly to the gameplay from the browser or application. If everything works as the developers say, then streaming will reach a completely different level.
Any modern controllers are claimed to work with Google Stadia, but the corporation also presented its own proprietary gamepad. The controller from the “corporation of good” outwardly resembles the models of competitors. The controller will connect directly to the Google game servers via WLAN and the Internet, so there is no need to connect the controller to anything. They promise that the delay when using the joystick will be minimal.
How to play
The game mechanics of Google Stadia are both known and unknown. At the presentation of the search giant, it was announced that the same game with high quality graphics can be launched from a computer, tablet, phone or TV. It is too early to judge how smoothly the service will work on weak gadgets and how the transition from one device to another will work. So far, there are two main requirements – support for the Chrome browser and an Internet channel from 15 Mbps for the resolution of the game in FullHD (35 Mbps at 4K). However, questions arise about the inevitable lags and delays that will surely arise during data transfer. How it will be solved in the release version of Stadia – time will tell.
At the June event dedicated to Google Stadia, it was revealed which games will be released first. Projects include: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Doom Eternal, Doom (2016), Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Destiny 2, Get Packed, Grid, Metro Exodus, Thumper, Farming Simulator 19, Baldur’s Gate 3, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, Football Manager, Samurai Shodown, Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, NBA 2K, Borderlands 3, Gylt, Mortal Kombat 11, Darksiders Genesis, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Trials Rising and The Crew 2. In addition, the console will receive as-yet-unnamed titles from Capcom, EA and Rockstar studios.
First impressions of the service
Stadia launched in a number of countries in November 2019 and immediately received unflattering reviews from journalists, reviewers and bloggers. It turned out that Google somewhat overestimated its ability to optimize the project. So, it turned out that the first lucky ones who got access to Stadia faced huge picture delays, even with a good Internet channel. This was observed when launching the service through a browser or through a Chromecast Ultra adapter. But smartphones showed themselves much better in this respect, here the response in management is adequate.
Despite Google’s assurances that the service will spare traffic, the miracle did not happen. For example, when playing Red Dead Redemption 2 in FullHD, a minute “costs” 119 MB, and more than 7 GB will be spent in an hour. In other words, if the user has a metered Internet connection, Stadia will run out of traffic in a matter of hours. It’s better not to think about the consumption of megabytes and gigabytes in 4K.
By the way, about 4K. As noted by many techno-reviewers, Stadia suffers from upscale pictures. The Verge found out that UHD in Destiny 2 is much closer to 1080p, while FullHD looks like 720p. Actually, even game developers do not hide that while the service simulates 4K using post-processing.
But it’s not all bad in Google Stadia. So, many people liked the quick launch of games that require many times more time on consoles. In any case, the service will change a lot by the time it gets (if it gets) to Russian gamers.