Google recently lifted the lid on its upcoming Stadia video game streaming service, offering up details on the price, hardware and connection speeds you’re going to need if you want to join the streaming revolution. We’ve pulled together this handy guide which breaks down what it’s all about, so sit back, grab a hot (or cold) beverage and allow us to educate you.
What Is Google Stadia?
Stadia is a video game streaming service which turns anything device capable of running Chrome into a fully-fledged games console. Dubbed “the Netflix of games”, this service will remove the need to spend hundreds of pounds on expensive, dedicated games hardware every few years and instead allow you to purchase a subscription to play games or buy the software outright. Because all of the heavy lifting is being done on Google’s servers, you’ll be getting a truly cutting-edge experience without having to spend an insane amount of cash on a top-of-the-line gaming PC rig – and the best thing is that (in theory) the visuals will get better as the years progress, as Google will be constantly updating its server tech to provide the best possible graphics.
What Do I need to Run Google Stadia?
You probably already have everything you need to run Stadia. The service is designed to stream via any device capable of running Google’s Chrome browser, so that could be your laptop, tablet, computer or smartphone. Google is launching a special dedicated app for its Pixel 3 device, but says this will come to other smartphones in the fullness of time.
While Google is launching a dedicated Stadia controller (more on that in a moment), you can use a wide range of wireless and USB pads, as well as mice and keyboards. If you want to use Stadia on your TV and don’t have a device connected that is capable of running Chrome, you can buy a Chromecast UItra and connect that instead.
Perhaps the most important thing is your connection speed. Google says that the recommended minimum speed is a download speed of 10mbps – that will get you 720p visuals running at 60fps with stereo sound. However, if you want 4K, HDR visuals at 60fps with Dolby 5.1, then you’ll need a download speed of around 35mbps.
How Much Will Google Stadia Cost?
If you want to get in on the action the moment Stadia launches in November 2019, then you’ll have to pony up £119/$129.99 USD for the special ‘Founder’s Edition’ bundle. You’ll get a Chromecast Ultra for 4K and HDR streaming as well as a limited-edition Night Blue Stadia controller. The bundle also includes a three-month subscription to Stadia Pro and a three-month Stadia Pro ‘Buddy Pass’ sub for a friend. On top of all of this, you’ll get to pick your Stadia username nice and early. A Stadia Pro account also gives access to free games, as well as discounts on other premium games. One of the first offers is access to the full Destiny 2 suite of content.
Outside of the Founder’s Edition, a Stadia Pro subscription costs £8.99/$9.99 USD a month and is the only way to get 4K/60fps with HDR and 5.1 surround sound.
Next year, 2020, Google will also launch the free Stadia Base service. This will be limited to 1080p/60fps with stereo sound.
How Do I Buy Games On Google Stadia?
The Stadia Pro sub will give you access to free games each month, just like Sony’s PlayStation Plus and Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold. However, the majority of the games you play you’ll have to purchase outright, the old-fashioned way. When you buy these games you’ll own them forever (well, ‘forever’ in digital terms – they could still be removed from distribution by the publisher or Google at any point) and will be able to play them on any device capable of hosting Stadia. Your progress will be saved across devices, too.
What Games Are Confirmed For Google Stadia?
Google has said that many companies have signed up to release their titles on Stadia, and the vast majority of games announced so far as existing titles that are already available elsewhere. However, exclusives are promised – Gylt, from the developer of Rime, is one of the first to be confirmed – so expect to see some games appear that will only be playable on Stadia.
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Baldur’s Gate 3
- Borderlands 3
- The Crew 2
- Darksiders Genesis
- Destiny 2
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Doom 2016
- Doom Eternal
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- 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
- Samurai Shodown
- Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
- Trials Rising
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
What’s So Special About The Stadia Controller?
Unlike most wireless pads, which connect to your console via Bluetooth, the Stadia pad uses Wi-Fi to link directly to your game of choice running in Google’s data centre. That means your inputs are feeding directly into the servers that are playing your game, and that cuts down dramatically on latency. The pad charges via a USB-C port and has a 3.5mm headphone socket for voice chat. You can also take screenshots and capture footage with a dedicated button. The pad comes in Midnight Blue (exclusive to the Founder’s Edition bundle), Just Black, Clearly White, and Wasabi, and will cost £59/$69 each.
OK, I’m Interested, When’s The Google Stadia Release Date?
November. 14 countries will get the Founder’s Edition (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland).