Google Stadia Review

Google Stadia is a really bright first long-term forecast for cloud gaming. After spending years depending on the console during the update cycle, gamers are about to breathe.

With Stadia, you can have full access to a growing library of digital games that works anywhere. While it sounds ambitious, we’ve finally tested it in our own home, and we can say with certainty that this is a true console alternative and ultimately a potential platform killer.

He does many things right. In addition to delivering surprisingly nice performance with little or no lag on our home network, the service offers streaming on the go via phones and tablets, as well as on PCs and Chromecasts at home.  Stadia also has YouTube Gaming live streaming built-in option, and if you buy a Premiere version, you can have an ergonomic Wi-Fi controller that reduces latency, showing that Google is looking at Stadia from every angle.

So how does it compare to competitors like PlayStation Now and Geforce Now? Well, we’ve learned that Stadia performs significantly better than PlayStation Now in terms of stability, and while Geforce Now promises a larger library, Stadia streams 4K HDR and continues to broadcast larger titles.

So does that mean Stadia is an excellent streaming service? Not so good.

As with any other streaming service, your experience can be radically different depending on your proximity to Google’s servers and the speed of your connection. Unlike consoles that work exactly the same from one place to another, there is no guarantee that we will all have the same experience when it comes to streaming games.

There are a number of minor issues that plague the service that will fix over time, but if Google Pro can clear the confusion around and enable all the features it promises, this could really be a definitive game. transmission platform.

Price and release date

Google Stadia is available to anyone who orders a Founders Edition or Premiere Edition in 14 different regions, including the US, UK, and Canada, starting November 19. Both the Founders Edition and the Premiere Edition cost $ 130 / £ 119 (about AU $ 190), but the former sold out months ago and was replaced with the second one.

There are very slight differences in terms of packages – the Founders Edition comes with a Blue Stadia Controller, the Premiere Edition has a white and the Founders Edition comes with a 30-day free trial for a friend, but both versions come with a controller. , a Chromecast Ultra and a three-month Stadia Pro subscription.

When your three-month subscription expires, you pay $ 9.99 / £ 8.99 per month for your Stadia Pro subscription, and this is automatically taken from your Google registered card.

If you need a new controller or decide to wait until 2020 when the free service comes out and purchases a controller, the Stadia controller will refund you $ 69 / £ 59.

What is Google Stadia?

Google Stadia is the name of a new Google game streaming service and the name of the store where you will buy the games. Everything you buy belongs to you, but you’ll likely pay full price for any games you find in the Stadia store.

What Stadia promises (and primarily delivers) is a game streaming experience that requires only the most basic equipment: be it a Chromecast Ultra or your phone or laptop, plus Google’s Stadia controller, a controller of your choice. , Xbox One controller. or PS4 DualShock4 gamepad.

Finally, you need an internet connection, something we think will be an early nail in the platform’s coffin, considering that very few of us have fiber connections. However, Google Stadia runs on 10 Mbps connections and requires only 35 Mbps for Full 4K HDR / 60fps.

At one point you could only access Stadia through a Stadia Pro subscription, but this requirement has been removed and you can now use Stadia for free. In fact, there are even periodically free demos you can try at no cost.

However, if you like the service, you’ll want the Stadia Pro, a monthly subscription that allows you to play games in 4K HDR quality, with over a dozen free games when you sign up, and a discount on you. take a few. games. But more importantly, as the name suggests, the Stadia Pro is not Netflix, and it’s not an all-you-can-eat game buffet.

Compatible Devices:

Both recording and streaming services are enabled via the Google Stadia app on Android and iOS. Once logged in, you can cast a game to your Chromecast Ultra, which comes with any version from the app, or go to Stadia.com to start streaming on your PC.

The third option, and the slightly more complicated, is that you can connect a Stadia controller to a Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 3a, or Google Pixel 4 phone and transfer it directly to your phone. Try streaming on another phone; The app will ask you to connect to the Chromecast Ultra or bolster the three main entry points with an explanatory text wall.

All three ways to access the streaming service are exchanged, which we’ll cover in the performance section below, but Google has done an extraordinary job allowing you to bypass by ensuring that the controller matches all three access points. quite perfect among them. (However, as far as we know, you cannot log in and stream on two devices at the same time, so you probably shouldn’t provide your Stadia account information either.)

Design

Stadia’s design and the interface is excellent and very easy to use. On both mobile and desktop computers, your home screen is essentially every game in your collection and the most noticeable is the last game you played.

On desktop, you’ll have the option to search for friends and add them to a party, as well as access your screenshot collection with photos of the games you’ve taken. The mobile layout has a similar home screen, but it also has tabs for the Stadia Store and a feed with videos, news, and blog posts from the Stadia team.

One argument you can make against the service here is that there isn’t a lot of depth compared to, for example, the versatile interface of the Xbox One or even the complex, curated, and very robust implementation on the Steam Store. However, the counterargument is that Google doesn’t overcomplicate something that should be simple and can always add more complexity and depth to apps as more content is available.