Google Stadia launched today and it is time to see if it is really what it is promised to be. The revolutionary cloud gaming tech certainly challenged trends and current standards with their methodology and the very basic principle says so much about thinking outside the box. In history, people firstly asked themselves – what if we had advanced technology that would enable playing video games right in our homes? Then thinkers and visionaries asked themselves – what if the whole world was playing the same game at the same time? And, Google now asks – what if we cut out the hardware out of that equation?
Now, that doesn’t by any means exclude technology or the hardware, it just means that people can now access some really demanding content without necessarily owning the latest PC or flagship phone. Google Stadia uses the company’s data centers scattered in numerous locations all over the world to transfer data as fast as humanly possible at this point in order to allow users to play games simply by owning a supported controller and an internet connection.
And herein lies the biggest challenge Stadia is facing now, which is internet connection. This cloud gaming service is heavily dependent on your protocol speed and it can change the entire experience for users. This is why current online reviews range from very positive to negative, but if we factor out the connection speed issues, Google’s cloud gaming service delivers everything it promises, everyone agrees on that.
Users who have tried it mostly recommend you need the founders or premiere edition, which are around $130 that come with hardware specially updated for this purpose. You get a Chromecast Ultra and the Stadia Controller, although the service does support some other controllers like Bluetooth Dual Shock 4 and Xbox One Elite, but not too many of them.
The biggest selling points of the service are that it enables you to play demanding games without a console or a strong PC, and some are even available in 4K resolution with 60fps. One more perk is the State Share feature, which integrates Stadia and YouTube. This enables you to play the game with exactly the same save state as a streamer you are watching, for instance, if using the same respective service.
Lastly, it is important to note that Google Stadia is not similar to Netflix or other streaming services. They require you to pay a monthly subscription and you are then given access to a library of content for that time. Google’s next-gen cloud gaming service is free or asks for a one time purchase and with it, you only get the service with the respective gear. Games, however, need to be purchased separately, provided they are not free to play. The service launched with 22 games offered in its library, with more to come, but a large part of the web agrees you should first check your internet connection speed before deciding to go for it. Google itself recommends a speed of 35MB or above.