Almost three months ago, at GDC 2019, Google unveiled its Cloud Gaming Platform — Google Stadia. When it was launched, I said that it will do to traditional gaming consoles what Netflix did to the humble DVD players — Make them obsolete. With the first Stadia Connect video, Google released the much-awaited details about the service
- It will be available some time in November 2019 — At launch, the availability will be limited 14 countries including US, UK, Canada.
- Stadia Pro will be $10 a month —As a Stadia Pro subscriber you would be able to play all the games available in the Stadia library on all your devices. Some time in 2020, a Stadia Base subscription will also be launched. It will be free, but you’d have buy each game that you want to play.
3. Internet Speed Requirements — This is perhaps the most important information about the Stadia. How fast should your connection be if you were to have a lag free 4K HDR Game at 60fps? Turns out it’s a manageable 35 Mbps. Of course, you cannot have data caps on your Internet plan. Stadia gaming will be data intensive. Your speed should be consistent. For example, on your network you could do a speed test and find that it’s 35+ Mbps, but does it stay that way all the time? Until Stadia is launched, it’s unclear how well the platform will handle data slow downs. Google says that the resolution will change on the fly, depending on the data speed (the way it happens with YouTube or Netflix), but it remains to be seen how well Stadia delivers it.
4. The Stadia Founder’s Edition — For $129, you can order the limited edition Founder’s Edition. The package will have a Chromecast Ultra 4K, a limited-ed midnight blue Stadia controller, 3 months of Stadia Pro membership and a buddy pass which would let another user enjoy Stadia Pro subscription for three months. Considering that the hardware and membership fees together come to a total of more than $300, the Founder’s Edition package is a steal. It is available for pre-order in the 14 countries in which Stadia is being launched in November.
5. It will launch with 31 games from 21 publishers — There are some big names right from the launch. Doom Eternal, Destiny 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, Mortal Kombat 11, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint to name some of them. Google has managed to rope in some of the biggest game studios.
November is still 5 months away. Cloud Gaming is tricky not because of the internet speeds, but because of the latency. According to Google the latency requirements that Stadia demands were similar to the demands of YouTube, Maps and Google Search. Google has a vast array of servers and have decades of experience in handling heavy loads efficiently.
The fact that Google has manage to sign up big names, is an indication that Stadia might succeed in doing what it claims. These big names like Bungie, Bethesda, EA they have reputations to protect. They won’t tag their names to a platform if they didn’t think it can handle their games.
I cannot wait till November to see how well it is in practice.
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