Back in March, gamers all around the world have been head over heels for the news of Google launching Stadia – a new cloud-based game streaming platform.
However, since then, there have been no other movements from Google. They seem to keep a low profile on their new baby, which even arise more interest from gamers.
After months of silence, now Google has finally opened up about the release details for this service. In the recent Google Stadia Connect event, this tech giant has revealed some information on the debut of this platform.
So, if you’re wondering what comes within this cloud-based service, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we will guide you through everything you need to know about Google Stadia!
What is Cloud Gaming?
So, what is cloud gaming? What do we mean when mentioning cloud gaming or game streaming?
Put it this way. When you play games on a cloud-based platform, there will be a remote server processing and streaming rendered frames to your local device. The interactions of your in-game characters will give out signals, and the server will send back commands.
What makes cloud gaming special?
When it comes to an all-in-one subscription or streaming service, Netflix will be the first name popped out of mind. However, when indicating game streaming service, Apple Arcade will be a closer match.
Now, let’s take a look at the comparisons between Apple Arcade and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You may ask us, “Why Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?” Well, because it’s the most obvious example of cloud gaming.
It has all the essential features of a cloud-based gaming platform. To name a few, autosaved progress on the cloud, in-game communication, and play capture are the most important ones.
Thanks to them, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (individually) and cloud gaming services (generally) stand out from most streaming platforms.
Cloud-Based Gaming Platform and The Need for Persistence
On the other hand, the need for persistence also plays a huge role in distinguishing cloud-based gaming platforms and online streaming services.
Take this as an example. How do you feel if your favorite movie is no longer on Netflix due to copyright issues? Uncomfortable, right?
The same thing happens when you’re playing a game, and suddenly, it disappears from “the vault.” The worst case, however, is that the platforms aren’t smart enough to save your progress and other relevant settings.
To avoid that, we use cloud-based gaming platforms. That term also helps to identify itself from other in-home streaming such as the original Steam Link, AMD Link mobile, HP’s Omen Game Stream, etc.
Such platforms help you play games smoothly on less powerful devices by running apps off a local system. However, those devices are still sitting on the same network.
Details on Google Stadia
What is Google Stadia?
Unlike standard services, Stadia is a cloud-based gaming platform managing games on remote servers. At the same time, Stadia helps to stream games flawlessly to nearly every device supporting Google’s Chrome browser.
If this is true, from now on, players will no longer need to break the bank purchasing “cutting-edge” hardware to enjoy playing games with extreme system requirements.
Besides, Stadia also comes with a wide range of other exciting features. For instance, users will be able to switch directly from watching streamers playing something into trying the games themselves. And if they find the game worth-to-buy, they can purchase the game.
We luckily had a chance to try Stadia at the recent event of Google, and we have to say, it’s impressive. The only doubts we have are the unstable connection speed, fps issue, and ping index on games like Doom (2016). However, Google assured that they got everything under control.
Also, Stadia only offers one physical hardware – the controller. This is how this device works: It connects to the remote data center directly and runs the game using Wi-Fi.
Starting at the price of $69, the controller acts as a standard gamepad providing some useful buttons. One is for quickly capturing footage, and another is for in-game support directly from Google Assistant.
Features Of Stadia
The heat of Stadia shows no signs of cooling down, especially when Google confirmed the appearance of the most advanced cloud gaming option – Blade Shadow. Indeed. It offers a perfect balance of features and performance.
You may wonder, “What’s so special about Blade Shadow?” The answer lies in the gamers’ experience. Most players state that they cannot tell whether they’re playing on a local desktop or not.
To explain this, look at the mechanism of Blade Shadow. It allows users to run any Windows game of others with any launcher they possess. It doesn’t depend on any specific partners.
According to some sites, different from other platforms, Shadow can operate 4K in-game quality at 60fps. However, there’s no absolute assurance on these uncertified rumors.
And about device support, Blade is the king. It comes with a small $140 box called the Shadow Ghost including Bluetooth and USB ports for every Pc components of yours. It even offers a tool to hook up a TV or monitor.
Another plus belongs to the high compatibility of Stadia. This new, game-changing platform of Google is available on Android, MacOS, and Linux, while the iOS version has already been in beta.
Recently, Google Stadia also had a spectacular debut on Hive, a popular community acting as a co-op interface allowing participants to view and take control of others’ gaming screens.
Nvidia Shield and GeForce Now
Nvidia’s GeForce Now is probably the best cloud-gaming option on the market. Partly, it’s because this one has been around for quite a long time in different forms. The other reason is because of its user limit.
The Shield, Nvidia’s device for managing connections to peripherals, provides a console-like gaming experience. This box also allows users to enjoy Android games or cloud games on the TV screen using Nvidia’s GeForce Now (GFN) service.
Another remarkable feature of GFN is the ability to run on Macs and PCs. Nvidia’s worked on this and launched a free beta version for over a year.
It works like a dream and helps your network achieve all the games’ requirements: The bandwidth of 25Mbps, the frame loss of under 2 percent, and the latency of less than 80ms.
Moreover, Nvidia has also come out with its brand new RTX-based blade servers at GDC 2019. These servers are considered highly scalable with the top purpose of upgrading GeForce Now.
Sony PlayStation Now and PS4 Remote Play
If you ask us about the pioneer in the field of cloud gaming, the five-year-old PSN will pop out of our mind. The all-you-can-eat subscription service costing PlayStation owners $20 per month to $100 per year, has led to a revolution in the gaming industry in the last three years.
In PS4, Sony introduced the “Remote Play” feature letting your PS4 stream games on PCs, Macs, Android, and most recently, iOS. Similar to Stream Link Anywhere, in Remote Play, the console acts as a host allowing you to access your library via other devices without being in the same network.
Sony also gave out some hints on the upcoming console with some of the internals for “cross-generation” play. However, cross-platform wasn’t mentioned.
And maybe, soon, the company will unveil the ability to stream games from your device to others directly via the PSN infrastructure.
If this is true, from now on, you will no longer need a console to get access to hot, new exclusives of Sony.
Steam Link Anywhere
Steam Link’s initial design was just a box (like the Shield) for handling the connection to a TV or monitor using Steam’s in-home streaming service. It’s based on the purpose to provide a robust system operating the game without having it placed in front of users.
However, its parent company, Valve decided to stop working on Steam Link and replaced it with another app allowing users to stream to their smartphones. While the Android version is still in beta, the iOS app has vanished on the App Store due to several issues with Apple’s App Store.
However, the good news for Steam’s loyal fans is that there will be an update on Steam Link Anywhere. The update restrains Steam Link from the must of staying on the same network as the hosting computer.
Microsoft Project xCloud
Last but not least, we have Microsoft Project xCloud. For long, tech lovers have known that Microsoft’s having a project called Project xCloud – an Xbox-based cloud-gaming platform.
The purpose behind the plan of Microsoft is believed to be expanding the position of Xbox games and exclusives by allowing users to play them on more devices.
This tech giant recently revealed a demo of Forza Horizon 4 testing on smartphones with the promise to open more comprehensive beta in 2019.
Setbacks Of Google Stadia
The only downside is that Google Stadia might not be suitable for those who don’t pay that much attention to their own computers.
Yes, we’re talking about the people who like to join, play, and get out without caring the device connection and latency issues. And of course, they’re not willing to pay $35 per month, which is considered quite expensive.
Advantages of Google Stadia Over Its Competitors
It’s crystal clear that Google has several distinct advantages over its rivals. It possesses a considerable number of data centers, and the connection within that network is nearly perfect.
Let us explain! The software and program department of Google has already had every skill it needs to run. It’s now just all about promoting and marketing, which is a piece of cake with Google.
While YouTube helps to popularize the video-streaming infrastructure, Chrome provides clients using a ready-made installed base; and the deep pockets play a significant role in capitalization, helping Google come out with its games.
Last but not least, Google takes advantage of its impact on the industry to step in the mobile and desktops’ section. This company convinces a massive number of publishers to develop for it.
Questions and Doubts
But with such innovative technology, open questions inevitably appear. Despite the outline of bandwidth requirements given by Google, we still find it challenging to figure out whether there is any particular relationship between the strength of the internet connection and the quality level.
The information given out by Google is so insufficient that many are left with complete unknowns. For instance, how about YouTube integration? Why wasn’t it mentioned? How do you purchase games? And What are the games’ prices?
Many also find it confusing when it comes to the policy of Stadia. Can you play a game that you’ve already bought on Stadia or will Stadia require repurchases? If you purchase games from Stadia, is it possible to play them on popular platforms?
Since Stadia is an innovative platform, they have special codes for games. Fortunately, most games on Stadia run on the popular Unity engine.
Therefore, Unity-based games will have fewer troubles porting to another platform. Epic Store is also working on developing what it needs for its Unreal Engine.
Google Stadia’s Plans
Stadia Founder’s Edition
This option is available now. The pre-orders are the only way to try Stadia at launch in November 2019. Being priced at $130 from Google, buyers of the Stadia Founder’s Edition will receive:
- A limited-edition night blue controller
- A Chromecast Ultra
- A three-month subscription to the Stadia Pro service
- First dibs on your Stadia Name
- A three-month Buddy Pass to Stadia Pro for a friend
From 2020, anyone can get access to Stadia Base as long as they possess a controller and a compatible device. That means you only need a PC with Chrome browser and a Pixel 3 or 3a smartphone.
Moreover, users can buy and store games in their accounts as well as get unlimited access to their library from anywhere. It provides gameplay at up to 1080p/60fps with stereo sound.
To own the complete experience with Stadia, Google charges $10 per month entrance fees to Stadia Pro. This is the additional subscription service including everything from the Base plan and some other features:
- Streaming up to 4K/60fps/HDR in 5.1 surround sound
- Access to a library of free games for the duration of your subscription (like Xbox Game Pass)
- Exclusive discounts on purchasing games (for full access even with a lapsed subscription)
- For a limited time, access to the complete Destiny 2 experience, including all previous and upcoming add-ons
List Of Available Countries
Initially, Google will launch Stadia in November 2019 within these 14 countries: US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
More regions and countries will come in 2020.
List Of Games Coming In Google Stadia
For your information, Stadia will come to life with more than 30 forward-looking games’ titles, including tons of brand new releases:
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Baldur’s Gate 3
- Borderlands 3
- Darksiders Genesis
- Destiny 2
- DOOM 2016
- DOOM Eternal
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Farming Simulator 19
- Final Fantasy XV
- Football Manager
- Get Packed
- Just Dance
- Metro Exodus
- Mortal Kombat 11
- NBA 2K
- Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
- Rage 2
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Samurai Showdown
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
- Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
- Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
- The Crew 2
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Trials Rising
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
- Unannounced games from Capcom, EA, and Rockstar
The Minimum System Requirements For Google Stadia
Well, if you want to get your hand on Google Stadia, make sure that your PC can fulfill all the requirements below:
- Memory: 4 GB
- Graphics Card: Intel HD 3000
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
- Google Stadia File Size: 1 GB
- OS: Windows 7 and higher
After all, it all comes down to the question, “Does it worth the price?”
Definitely Yes. If this service succeeds, it will change completely the way we test, buy and play online games. In other words, Google can open a new future for the gaming industry with Stadia.
However, experts advise waiting until the official beta comes out to have a final verdict on this one.