Google stadia launched one of its most ambitious and important products, the streaming service Stadia, first unveiled at a gaming conference in March 2019. The service allows you to run games with high system requirements from the “cloud” on phones, tablets, computers and TVs. All calculations are performed on Google servers, only a picture is transmitted to the devices. Consequently, Stadia users do not need to download or install anything. In Stadia, the game can be started on the phone, and then switch to the TV and continue from the same place. Exactly how it works with TV shows and movies on Netflix.
Short version of Google Stadia March presentation
At the presentation, Google promised that users will be able to instantly get into the game directly from the trailer on YouTube – that is, start from the same moment that was shown in the commercial. At the same time, the company announced other possibilities. For example, support for a voice assistant that will give hints to players who do not understand how to move forward.
How it works
Google described Stadia as a gaming platform that, unlike PS4 and Xbox One consoles, does not need a physical device or TV space. But right now, the service is only available in the $ 130 Premiere Edition. It includes:
adapter for TV Chromecast Ultra;
three months of the so-called Pro-subscription to the service (provides access to streaming and a set of free games).
Pro subscription after three months of purchase for Premiere Edition will cost $ 10 per month. In this case, games must be purchased separately – they cost from 20 to 60 dollars, that is, as on consoles. In the same Netflix, a subscription provides access to TV shows and films without restrictions, you do not need to pay extra for content. Essentially, Google released Stadia into what it calls Early Access. It is now a product for those who are eager to try experimental technology. However, it’s still cheaper than buying a powerful new graphics card, home console, or gaming computer.
Insane Google Stadia Ads
What you need right now to play on TV through Stadia:
Pre-order Stadia or purchased Premiere Edition (or Stadia controller and invite from a friend);
Stadia mobile application for iOS and Android, through which the service is managed;
Stadia and Chromecast Ultra gamepad (if you don’t buy Premiere Edition);
fast internet, from 10 megabits per second – the faster the better.
On computers, in addition to a Google account, a mobile application and access to the service by an invitation from a friend or with a paid subscription, you will need the Google Chrome browser. This is where Stadia works. Instead of a proprietary gamepad, you can use your own mouse and keyboard, as well as gamepads for PS4 and Xbox One – or any others supported by the service. Additionally, Stadia currently only works on Google Pixel phones via the mobile app. Although some claim that they managed to launch the service on other phones via the Google Chrome browser. The phones are attached to the controller and serve as a small screen.
The Wired journalist calls the real launch date of the service February 2020. According to him, only in February will Stadia come close to the product that the company was showing at the conference. Then the free version of the subscription will appear – users will not need to immediately give 130 dollars. Games in it will run in 1080p and 60 frames per second.
The paid Pro version will allow you to play the same games at 60 frames per second and in 4K resolution using HDR technology. Paying users will also have support for 5.1 surround sound. Pro subscribers also get discounts and access to a free set of games. Therefore, journalists advise not to rush and not buy an expensive version of Premiere Edition, but wait for February next year.
That’s what Google Stadia is praised for
The Verge calls Stadia the best streaming service he has ever experienced for games. An analyst at Eurogamer, who runs a blog on the technical side of Digital Foundry games, agrees with him. He considers the technology and service “impressive”. The journalist was amazed that Stadia, albeit with reservations, copes with the basic needs of the players without too much trouble. This is a real achievement for an emerging game streaming culture, he said.
Google Stadia Review by Digital Foundry
Games running on Stadia look pretty, although reviewers say the difference is still noticeable when compared to games running on consoles or computers. In the Google service, the picture turns out to be more “soapy”, as if you are watching YouTube in very high quality – this is attributed to the effect of video streaming. But many quickly got used to it. At the same time, Digital Foundry notes that games look best on small phone screens. Moreover, switching between platforms was made as smooth and painless as possible.
Also, the journalist The Verge praised the service for the fact that in Stadia the games run relatively smoothly and at an Internet speed of 10-15 megabits per second, even if they are dynamic. However, for complete comfort, you still need to properly configure the router.
Most importantly, levels load significantly faster in Stadia than on consoles or computers. In the case of online shooter Destiny 2, downloads on Google are several times faster than the most powerful console on the market, Microsoft’s Xbox One X. On Stadia, the download takes about 23 seconds, and on Xbox One X – a whopping 116 seconds. According to Digital Foundry, the same Shadow of the Tomb Raider surpasses the Xbox One X version in almost everything, from frame rate to resolution, it is very comfortable to play.
It is equally important that games on home consoles have to be downloaded, and in some cases even installed. For example, Red Dead Redemption 2 on Xbox One X weighs 117 gigabytes. On Stadia, you just need to launch the game – and that’s it.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Stadia, Xbox One X, and PC Comparison
But many journalists were still unhappy. currently only 22 games are available (among them Assassinʼs Creed Odyssey, Red Dead Redemption 2, Final Fantasy XV and others); journalists complain about a significant delay between pressing the buttons and the response of the game – this is especially critical in shooters and fighting games; there are no usual things for players like achievement system, list of friends, family access; the platform interface is very, very crude – for example, the streaming quality settings were hidden in the mobile application; there are not many functions declared at the presentation (that is, it is still impossible to go from the trailer to the game) do not officially play on iPhones yet; now Stadia operates only in 14 countries, which is very few .
With the games themselves, not everything is so simple either. Despite a steady 60fps, Destiny 2 runs at 1080p, which is artificially stretched to 4K. This is not exactly what the service advert has promised. Destiny 2 developers have stated that the Stadia version of their shooter is comparable to average graphics settings on regular personal computers. Ultimately, Digital Foundry claims, the Xbox One X version still looks prettier than the Stadia version.
The Verge calls the Stadia launch “a complete mess.” The publication notes: Google said that Stadia is “not a box.” In fact, users who pre-ordered received an access code to the service a couple of days after they received boxes with a controller and Chromecast Ultra. That is, on the day the service was launched, they could not play. Buyers of the Premiere Edition will not receive their orders at all until next week. And that’s not to mention the posts on Reddit complaining that their Chromecast adapters overheat when playing Stadia on a TV.
In general, journalists and players agree on one thing: Stadia really looks promising, it really is the technology of the future. But right now, everything is too damp – and access to the service is too expensive.