Google’s first foray into the world of gaming with Google Stadia has, thus far, raised a few eyebrows. The company has appeared reluctant to delve into a world dominated by Microsoft and Sony. However, the flagship Stadia product, scheduled to launch later this year, could spark another console war.
The tech giant already holds sway over a large portion of our digital lives. Currently, Google owns YouTube, the world’s most popular online video platform. Similarly, the most popular mobile operating system on earth, Android OS, is owned by Google. You really can’t escape Google, so it makes sense that you just accept your fate and leave your Xbox or PlayStation behind…
Announced earlier this year, there has been a limited amount of information on Google Stadia; a product shrouded in mystery. Google’s Manhattan Project, so to speak, the game-changing product to bring Sony and Microsoft to heel.
Details on the “console” launch, pricing and the titles set to be available have sent social media into a frenzy over what could be the future of gaming and the battle of the…not consoles.
Here’s everything you need to know about Google Stadia.
Not your conventional “console”
You missed the first #StadiaConnect.
No worries – we’ve got you covered with our three minute recap right here. pic.twitter.com/iw3NVJ6QV0
— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) June 6, 2019
Waking up on Christmas morning, a birthday or a special occasion to find an Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo console under your tree is a delightful experience for people young or old. Google Stadia, however, may not invoke the same kind of emotion or experience.
Why? Well, it’s not your conventional games console; it’s a streaming platform. Google Stadia users will be able to stream games to their television, computer or mobile device over the internet. All you need is an internet connection with a minimum speed of 30mbps to enable you to stream titles in 4k at 60fps (frames per second).
If you’re not too fussed about streaming in 4k, don’t worry. With an internet speed of just 20mbps, you can stream games at 1080p – also up to 60fps.
Chromecast Ultra (Google’s 4k video and streaming device which plugs into your TV) will be required for users to stream on their television, Google confirmed this week. As far as controllers go, you can choose between purchasing a sleek-looking Stadia controller or even using an Xbox controller.
UK release date and pricing
Stadia is launching across 14 countries in November this year. Initially, gamers in the UK, US, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Spain and more will have access to the streaming platform. That’s a whole lot of international competition for you and your friends.
As far as pricing goes, the Stadia Founder’s Edition will cost you around £119. This includes a limited edition ‘Night Blue’ controller, a three-month subscription to Stadia Pro (we’ll get to that) and a three-month ‘Buddy Pass’.
The Buddy Pass allows you to gift Stadia Pro to a friend, so you won’t be alone complaining about your internet connection. The Founder’s Edition also gets you first dibs on a Stadia name so you can avoid having a random assortment of easily-forgettable numbers jumbled into your username.
What is Stadia Pro?
Introducing the Stadia Founder’s Edition. A $300 value for just $129.
— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) June 6, 2019
Stadia Pro is the subscription service that comes with Stadia that will set you back £8.99 per month; similar to Xbox Live or your PlayStation Plus subscription. Comments comparing Stadia with Netflix aren’t exactly correct. It is a streaming service, but with Netflix the subscription grants you access to all of the content available on that platform – with Stadia, this is not the case.
Stadia Pro will give you access to a limited selection of free games, along with some paid-for titles. For a limited time after launch, Stadia Pro will give players complete access to Destiny 2. This includes the base game, add-ons, the new expansion and annual pass.
Already have a Destiny 2 Guardian on another platform? Don’t sweat it. Stadia will allow you to transfer your Guardian from other platforms, including PC and Xbox One (so far).
When the platform launches in November, Stadia Pro will be the only way to fully enjoy the streaming service. Google says it plans on launching Stadia Base in 2020, though.
Stadia Base will not require a monthly subscription cost but will be restricted to just 1080p gaming, as well as stereo sound only. Similarly, if you choose Stadia Base when it’s launched, you won’t have the same level of access as your Pro counterparts; missing out on the free titles that they can enjoy.
Stadia Base won’t work on television, either. So you’ll be limited to Chrome browsers on your PC and Pixel mobile devices. While this appears restrictive, there will still be a degree of freedom with this; you can simply buy the games you want and ‘keep’ them.
What games will be available on Google Stadia?
We’re thrilled to announce the Tomb Raider Trilogy will be coming to @GoogleStadia on launch!
— Tomb Raider (@tombraider) June 6, 2019
The list of games will likely continue to expand as the launch date draws closer. However, so far there’s quite a broad selection of titles and developer studios for you to choose from.
Ubisoft: Existing titles from Ubisoft, including The Division 2, Assassins Creed Odyssey, The Crew 2 and Just Dance will all be available on Stadia. Ubisoft confirmed that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, released in October, will also be available on the streaming service.
Square Enix: Final Fantasy XV, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will all be available on Stadia.
Bethesda: Perhaps the studio you’ve been looking out for? Bethesda will have a number of existing titles available on Stadia. These include Rage 2, Doom 2016 and The Elder Scrolls Online. Sadly, no Skyrim. However, the studio has announced that upcoming titles such as Doom Eternal and Wolfenstein: Youngblood will also be released on Stadia.
You might be wondering where Rockstar, EA and Capcom currently figure. Well, the aforementioned studios will be announcing what titles we could see on Stadia, but these announcements will come at a later date. There could be details revealed at this year’s E3 conference.