Google’s anticipated game streaming service is launching November 14th, and Google says it’ll allow you to play PC games on a variety of screens without investing in high-end gaming hardware.
Instead you can launch Google Stadia on a PC just by opening the Chrome web browser and visiting the Stadia website, or stream games to a TV by plugging in a Google Chromecast Ultra. A Stadia smartphone app will also let you stream games to a mobile device… although only the Google Pixel 3 will be supported at launch.
Stadia isn’t exactly a Netflix-for-games service though. You can either use Stadia Base, which allows you to pay for individual games that you can stream or sign up for Stadia Pro at $10/month for access to a selection of playable content plus game discounts and higher-quality game streaming.
Stadia Pro is launching in November, while Stadia Base won’t be available until 2020. And 4K game streaming with 5.1 channel audio will only be available to Stadia Pro subscribers — Stadia Base tops out at 1080p and stereo sound.
Still, with either version, Stadia is probably going to be a lot cheaper than building or buying your own gaming PC for most users. With a $10/month price tag, you’ll end up spending $120 per year… and that’s a lot cheaper than building or buying your own gaming PC.
By comparison, you could easily end up spending $1000 or more on a gaming PC capable of handling 4K content… you’d have to subscribe to Stadia for 8 years before you’d end up spending that much.
And odds are serious gamers would want to upgrade their hardware every few years, while Google can upgrade its server technology regularly.
Google is also taking pre-orders for a bundle called Stadia Founder’s Edition. For $129 you get:
- A limited edition Night Blue Stadia Controller
- A Chromecast Ultra (4K HDR media streamer)
- 3-month Stadia Pro subscription
- 3-month Stadia Pro buddy pass — give to a friend
- Destiny 2 Experience
Stadia Founder’s Edition customers also get to be among the first to reserve an exclusive Stadia name.
As for that controller, you can buy one on its own for $70, and Google notes that while it offers some special features for Stadia including the ability to connect directly to your gaming session over the internet (without going through your PC, Chromecast, or other device), you don’t need special hardware to use Stadia. You can also use an existing game controller, mouse, or keyboard if you’re playing on a PC web browser (you’ll need a controller if you’re using a Chromecast Ultra).
OK, so that’s the good stuff. As for the fine print, Google is playing up the low latency of its game streaming technology and the ability to deliver high-quality graphics over the internet. But there’s always going to be a little more lag when you’re playing games running on a remote server, which could give PC gamers with their own hardware an edge on games that require fast reaction times.
And to get the most out of Stadia, you do still need a relatively speedy connection to get the most out of Stadia. Google recommends:
- 10 Mbps for 720p/60fps gaming with stereo sound
- 20 Mbps for 1080p HDR/60fps/5.1 channel audio
- 35 Mbps for 4K HDR/60fps/5.1 channel audio
That said, I could see Stadia being an interesting option for folks who like to play games and want to be able to play on multiple devices… but like the idea of doing so without buying and continually updating dedicated hardware.
Stadia will be available in the following countries at launch, although Google says more countries will be added in 2020:
- United States
- United Kingdom
And launch titles include Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Baldur’s Gate 3, Darksiders Genesis, Destiny 2, DOOM Eternal, Final Fantasy XV, GRID, Metro Exodus, Mortal Kombat 11, NBA 2K, Rage 2, The Crew 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, and the Tomb Raider Trilogy, just to name a few.
I’m looking forward to start playing … listening to your good news and to stadia, but in this link they pay well if you want to try it bit.ly/2MxDkZu I have good profits
Really early to tell if this is going to be successful or not, plus still waiting for Microsoft to provide any new concrete updates to the Project XCloud, but still this platform sounds interesting to me
I like the idea of being able to build a gaming PC without a GPU, or even just use a NUC. However, I can’t get onboard with the loss of my ability to buy games from whichever source I choose. I buy most of my games on Steam sales.
I view this service as something that will cater to the $69.99 AAA titles, and that’s about it. I’m interested in the concept, but not the business model.
And Google’s habit of cancelling projects after 3 years.
If you JUST want gaming, I can see this as reasonable. But if you edit video, tinker with CUDA, mine cryptocurrecy, or just want control of technology in your home, a PC is still quite reasonable beyond the simple calculation of subscription fees vs. hardware costs.
Which is why I don’t want this to succeed, at least, not to the point that all the gamers just quit building PCs. Because if most of the consumer market quits buying graphics cards and powerful CPUs, manufacturers will just quit selling them to consumers.
And that kills the possibility of in home computational fluid dynamics.
If a game studio wanted to release a demo, this could be a great way to do it. I would not be surprised if Stadia Pro has lots of very cool and playable demos. It’s easier than setting-up a Steam demo, as no software needs to be installed.
Steam should undercut Google and offer an option to stream games from your Steam library – even if you have a very basic PC or even a TV – for a monthly fee. That choice would keep current users while attracting new users migrating from consoles or mobile devices.
But I’m afraid that Steam are sleeping on their noses while so many companies are entering their playground.
Geforce Now already does cloud streaming for steam games you own. Additionally, steam now has functionality allowing you to stream from your own computer to your phone/tablet anywhere.
I’m aware of both options but they have their limits – Nvidia is dragging their feet with Geforce Now which was announced more than two years ago. They first opted to charge by the hour but then changed to a free beta, with no commercial release date, and most games are not supported. And since Nvidia wish to sell graphic cards to PC users and game console companies, they would make Geforce Now their highest priority only when they will be left with no choice whatsoever.
Steam Link is a great service but you need a good PC hardware and a stable connection, both won’t appeal so much to the majority of gamers who owns mobile devices as their main gaming machine.
It’s possible that streaming a game could require a different license from the game developers and publishers, and that Steam is negotiating those deals, but it’s odd that Valve are staying mum when all other players in the market are getting insane amounts of free PR.
I wish I could just accept this and move on.
If successful, this program will probably be what’s needed to push cloud computing into what it was originally intended to be: remote mainframes serving terminals, which is all anyone would possess.
But there’s a problem. If this succeeds, and is in fact so successful that it will generally replace everyone’s desktop, I’ll be considered the stubborn, idiotic Luddite for trying to do everything myself…and paranoid, and possibly even a monster, for trying to keep my data to myself. And given the reach and influence of hatred when it’s backed by an entity as powerful as google, I can’t help but feel fear.
This has been a concern of mine since the beginning of mainstream cloud computing hype. I know no man is an island. I didn’t fabricate the chips or even write the software. But being independent of powerful things I know are filled with hatred means more barriers between them and me. And as long as the hardware and software is in my hands, I’m not dependent on someone to merely use it.
>I can’t help but feel fear.
Given the company’s history of https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/google-docs-users-locked-out/ having tools ready to automatically suppress documents that trigger automated systems for detecting noncompliant documents, and practice of firing-as-racist employees for internal forum posts, I would too.
“It’s on the internet, it’s public anyway!” Yes, if someone illegally accesses Google’s servers they can get it. Ditto for the government. Does that mean you set your bank pin to 1234?
“You should just keep local backups” On the 32GB of flash that Microsoft allows on budget hardware? Right. Give me 5th-generation filesystems with encryption and snapshots that run on 15 year old hardware. And if I let Google keep a copy, they can then serve me ads.
Unfortunately the train already left the station and almost all digital games are basically not owned by the users – except GOG which are in some financial trouble. PC and mobile gamers already lost the battle, and Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will push very aggressively to an all digital future.
But it could be possible that another game industry collapse – like in the 80s – will shuffle all the cards.
Don’t worry, at least for Google Stadia, since Google will kill this off not long after release whether people like/use it or not.
Don’t worry and enjoy your high-capacity, cyberwarfare-capable autonomous computing units while they are still legal.
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