Though the Google Play store has been littered with mobile games since its inception, Google has long shied away from entering the competitive console gaming scene. Until today, when corporation made a splash by unveiling their games streaming service Google Stadia.
Console Gaming in the Cloud
The service allows users to play 4K, 60fps gaming from hardware as simple as a Google Chromecast because it’s all played through the cloud. That’s potentially an incredible access point for people not ready to buy $300 consoles who still want to check out the latest Grand Theft Auto.
Google announced that Stadia will 0ffer a subscription for $10/month which includes a bundle of games you can play similar to Xbox’s Game Pass. A free version of Stadia, which limits resolution to 1080p and doesn’t include any games, is also coming. You can buy video games outright, your options aren’t limited to what’s part of the subscription.
To start, the only people who can try Stadia in 2019 are buyers of the Founders Edition bundle which includes three months of Stadia Pro, a three-month Buddy pass, a Google Chromecast Ultra, a copy of Destiny 2, and Google’s custom controller. Google is probably limiting access to its service so players don’t put too much pressure on their servers from the jump.
Even with this restriction, expect the connection to be jumpy at launch, and probably rocky for a long time after. Streaming 4K or even 1080p is a big ask for United States wi-fi. Google shared an image showing what internet you need for different resolutions (see above), but I believe they’re being overconfident with those numbers. Plus, plenty of internet issues arise that make a consistent connection near-impossible with any download and upload speed.
Google Stadia Titles
The games Google is including with their subscription is pretty impressive. The timely announcement of a Baldur’s Gate sequel undoubtedly added to the excitement, though the game will also be available to purchase from other PC stores like Steam.
Google no doubt had an impressive showing, but you might want to exercise some caution before going all in on Stadia. Remember Google Reader? Google Questions? Google+? All those services and more were suddenly discontinued by Google. It’s a big deal if that happens with Stadia. You can’t even download your titles, they’re all in the cloud. So if Google shutters Stadia, your entire games collection goes with it.
It’s exciting to see as big a player as Google enter console gaming. We’ll keep reporting on how it shakes out!