If like me, you’ve apparently been living under a rock recently, then you also didn’t know the Google Stadia was even a thing. But not knowing about something doesn’t stop it from existing, and they announced this thing in March of this year, so let’s rally and take a closer look at Google’s new giant-killing streaming console.
What Is It?
A cloud gaming service, brought to you by Google. In much the same way as Netflix allows fast access to movies via streaming, Stadia will allow users with a strong enough Internet connection to stream games at a speed that allows them to play them comfortably.
How good of a quality is that? Google predicts support of up to 4K at 60 fps at launch for users with an internet connection at around 30Mbps of bandwidth. From there, it’s planning to support up to 8K resolutions and 120 fps at some point in the future. Users watching videos of other users playing games on YouTube will, ostensibly, be able to shift seamlessly into playing those same games themselves.
What Games, Though?
Remember how I started this article by comparing the Stadia to Netflix? Well, people have been very excited about that idea up until yesterday’s most recent announcement. During an official screening of the console’s capabilities yesterday, we learned that, instead, users will pay a flat monthly subscription of around $10 (and up or down, depending on which additional features you want). Then, on top of that, they’ll buy individual titles.
Public testing for the console has, up until now, included Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, almost exclusively, but the company says it has plans for games of all shapes and sizes. The following titles have since been announced, and it’s something to behold:
- Baldur’s Gate 3 (what could this even look like?)
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (because bright lights)
- DOOM Eternal (exciting developments coming from this game right now)
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood (bring me my alternate timelines)
- Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid (Go Go)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (Duncan has coin if you have this game)
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (I can’t believe how good this looks streaming)
- Borderlands 3 (I will support this game on any console)
- Mortal Kombat 11 (test your bandwidth)
- Final Fantasy XV (Prince Noctis, of Stadia)
- Tomb Raider Trilogy (we live in the best possible timeline)
What Are You Going To Need?
A smart device and a relatively fast Internet connection seem to be the best answers to this question. By all accounts, 10 Mbps will get similar resolutions to most Xbox 360 and PS3 games at 60 FPS, with no HDR. For FHD, you’ll need at least 20 Mbps. For 4K, 35 Mbps or higher is recommended.
Then there’s the proprietary controller. Google has unveiled a fairly standard video game controller with which to play the more demanding titles in its catalog, lest Doom’s monsters rush you while you’re still trying to get your tablet controls to function. You can take or leave this one, but it seems to be recommended.
New technology is always a good thing, especially in a world saturated with identically cool console giants doing identically cool things year in and year out. It’s nice to have a change. Will this one be any good? Is it worth the $140 startup cost, and will unreliable Internet speeds bring this whole adventure crashing down around us? We’ll have to see in November of this year when the Google Stadia launches.
While new and interesting console controllers are fairly common, this one is certainly a step in a different direction to what we’re used to. What do you think? Leave your comments below!