Earlier in November, Google released Google Stadia, a cloud gaming service not yet available in Thailand. A good analogy to such service would be to compare it to a website like Netflix, which allows you to stream movies and TV series directly from the Internet to your platforms of choice, such as your TV, your phone, or your computer. You don’t need to own a DVD player anymore, nor do you need to go to a physical store to rent a DVD; everything is done directly from the Internet.
Google Stadia applies the same principle, but for video games instead of movies. Now, Google is not the precursor of this technology, as the first instances were demonstrated in the early ‘00s, with companies such as G-Cluster, Onlive, and Gaikai, but Google has some considerable advantages that may help it succeed where others have failed in the past, such as high-quality servers and a high bandwidth necessary to handle all the computing operations.
It’s all about your bandwidth with Stadia!
To enjoy the platform fully, you need to have a solid Internet connection, as all operations are done remotely on Google servers and delivered from the Internet. According to Google, you will need a minimum of 10MB/s to enjoy games at 720p with 60 fps, and 35MB/s for the full experience, which is 4K HDR video at 60 FPS, with 5.1 Dolby surround sound.
Thanks to the Stadia app, you will be able to test your Internet speed and receive recommendations as to what settings you’ll be able to play your games with. The Stadia controller, which is optional as you can use the system with existing controllers or with your mouse and keyboard, also connects to the Google server directly through Wi-Fi, so your upload speed must also be taken into consideration.
What games are we talking about and how much should I expect paying for Stadia?
During launch last month, Google Stadia included 22 games, such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XV, Mortal Kombat 11, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Another 14 titles are planned to be released before the end of the year, including Borderlands 3 and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.
If you are currently living in a country where Stadia is available, it will cost you a one-time fee of USD 130 for the controller and the Chromecast TV dongle, a USD 10 per month subscription to their service, while each game should cost between USD 20 to USD 60.
In the future, Google plans to change its business model by offering a free, basic subscription where one would just have to purchase the games to play them. The Pro subscription at USD 10 per month will allow gamers to play at 4K with HDR.
Integration with other services
One of the key selling points of Stadia was its integration with other services, mainly YouTube. We are still waiting to see how this will pan out, but you could technically watch a YouTube video about your favorite game, and click on “Join in Stadia” to start playing exactly where the video left off.
This type of interaction would also help streamers, who currently need to use several softwares and materials to properly record their games and commentaries. Stadia could facilitate the whole process, while at the same time offering some new levels of interaction with their fans.
Google Stadia is still in beta, and many options still need to be worked on to reach what was initially promised, but it succeeded so far in offering something new that has the potential to revolutionize the gaming industry in the years to come. We can’t wait to put out hands on the device and try it out in the coming months.