Google Stadia is the first long-term projection for cloud gaming that is rosy. Gamers will soon be able to enjoy a much-needed break from the console upgrading cycle.
Using Stadia, you get access to an ever-expanding collection of digital games that can be played on any device. We’ve finally put it to the test in our own house, and we can confidently claim that it’s a natural console alternative and, in the future, a platform killer.
It has a lot going for it. For those who want to watch content on the road, as well as at home through PCs and Chromecast, the service delivers unexpectedly good performance with little to no latency on our home network. Stadia also includes built-in YouTube Gaming streaming. If you purchase the Premiere Edition, it comes with an ergonomic Wi-Fi controller that lowers latency, proving that Google has considered all aspects of Stadia while developing it.
What is Google Stadia?
In addition to a new game streaming service from Google, Stadia is also the name of Google’s new game shop. You may retain everything you purchase from the Stadia shop, but you’ll have to pay the total price for most of the titles.
A Chromecast Ultra or your phone or laptop, plus a controller of your choice—on Google’s Stadia Controller, the Xbox One controller, or the PlayStation 4’s DualShock4 gamepad—is all you need to play games on Stadia.
Last but not least, you’ll need an internet connection, which we feared would be a fatal blow to the platform given the low number of people who had fiber-optic connections. On the other hand, Google Stadia can run on a 10Mbps link and needs just 35Mbps for full 4K HDR/60fps resolution and framerate.
Stadia was formerly only accessible by subscription; however, that restriction has recently been eliminated, and you may now use the service for no charge at all. It’s also possible to test out free demonstrations from time to time.
There are some drawbacks to using Stadia, but if you’re already a fan of the service, you’ll want to join up for Stadia Pro, which costs $9.99 a month and includes access to over a dozen free titles, as well as discounts on select games. However, Stadia Pro is neither Netflix nor an all-you-can-eat buffet of fun, despite its name.
The Google Stadia app for Android and iOS serves as both a signup and streaming service. Depending on your Chromecast Ultra or Stadia.com subscription, you can either start streaming a game from the app or head to Stadia.com to get started.
If you have a Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, or Pixel 4 phone, you can stream straight to your phone by connecting a Stadia Controller. Chromecast Ultra is the only way to stream on any other phone, and the app will either prompt you to connect to it or explain the three major access points.
Each of the three methods of accessing the streaming service has advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll discuss in more detail later on. Still, Google has done a fantastic job getting the controller to work with all three methods, making it possible to switch between them with relative ease. In addition to the fact that you can’t simultaneously log in and stream to two devices, you definitely shouldn’t give out your Stadia account information to strangers.
Stadia’s user interface and design are top-notch and intuitive. Home screens on both mobile and desktop are all the games you own, with the most recent one at the top. Desktop users may search for and invite friends to join a party, as well as browse their screenshot gallery to see images of games they’ve played in the past. Mobile users may access the Stadia Store and stream movies, news, and blog articles from the team through the Stadia Store tabs on the home screen.
One criticism of the service is that it lacks depth when compared to the multifaceted interface of the Xbox One or even the comprehensive, curated, and very robust app of the Steam Store. Another argument against overcomplicating things is that Google can always add additional complexity or depth to the applications when new material becomes available.
As promised at launch, Google Stadia is gradually building in all of the features it promised. Direct broadcasting to YouTube through YouTube Gaming has been put out while we wait for Google Assistant integration. For streamers, Stadia has the potential to combine the gaming and streaming platforms, and that’s fascinating in and of itself.
Screen capture, a vital function in the era of social networking, is one of Stadia’s built-in features, as is a Friends List. This is convenient if you want to play Destiny with a group of buddies. Controller support, which works flawlessly, and cross-platform compatibility are two of the most critical aspects at launch. While we couldn’t take up where we left off in most games, we were just a minute or two behind or, in one instance, a minute ahead of where we were.
Like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Mortal Kombat 11, there’s also Just Dance 2020, which may not be enticing to everyone. Among Stadia’s early releases are GYLT (a first-person horror game for kids), Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, and Watch Dogs Legion. Other hotly awaited games on Stadia include Watch Dogs Legion, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Cyberpunk 2077.
It was initially planned that Google Stadia would start with only 12 titles. Still, just one day before the launch, that number had almost risen to 22, with one additional game, Samurai Showdown, accessible for free to Stadia Pro users.
It would help if you remembered that last-minute addition because it shows you what Google can do—namely, it can optimize and launch a vast lot of games for the service at any given point. It shows that the service can keep up with new games regularly. (Google Stadia’s website has a complete list.) So far, Google has added more than 100 new titles to its collection and has no plans to slow down.
While Google has the financial wherewithal to release a slew of new titles, unlike Xbox Game Pass, the company’s library will permanently be restricted compared to other services like Steam that are less of a walled garden and depend more on community support, as Microsoft does. In conclusion, what can I say? Even if Google’s game developers can keep up with demand, the service will always be limited by what its staff put out.