If you were to believe Google, the future of gaming is streaming, but after that Connect stream, I’m not so sure. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Today saw Google publish their first Stadia Connect, a streamed video similar to a Nintendo Direct or the more recent State of Play videos from Sony.
During the half hour presentation, a number of key details were confirmed, such as pricing, how the service will be rolled out worldwide and, perhaps most importantly, the games. There was a lot to unpack within the space of 30 minutes, so let’s look at all the key details from today’s Stadia Connect.
Firstly, let’s talk about pricing. Stadia, at least at launch, will utilise a subscription service called Stadia Pro, which will cost $9.99/£8.99 per month. The Pro subscription will allow for 4K HDR resolution while streaming, 60 FPS and 5.1 surround sound. Subscribers will also receive the benefit of discounts on games and free titles, such as Destiny 2.
Stadia Base will launch in 2020, and will allow players to purchase games without requiring a subscription, however you’ll only be able to stream in 1080p with stereo audio, which means you have to spend $10 or £9 just to enjoy the games you’ve bought in 4K. It’s a bit of a yikes. It’s also worth noting that 4K resolution will only be available to those who have a connection of 35mb/s+.
Before launching in November, players can purchase a Founder’s Edition of Stadia for $129/£119, which will include a Chromecast Ultra, a limited edition blue Stadia controller that’s especially made to work with the platform (though it’ll support most controllers), a 3-month Pro subscription and another 3-month subscription to give to a friend. I know a lot of people would probably prefer a 6-month subscription, but that’s neither here nor there. You’ll also be able to purchase new controllers after launch.
As for the list of Stadia’s games, the following titles have been confirmed for the platform, with Capcom, EA and Rockstar also pledging to release games on the platform.
– Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Baldur’s Gate 3 – Borderlands 3 – Darksiders Genesis – Destiny 2 – Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 – Doom (2016) – Doom: Eternal – The Elder Scrolls Online – Farming Simulator 19 – Final Fantasy XV – Football Manager 202 – Get Packed – GRID – Gylt – Just Dance 2020 – Metro Exodus – Mortal Kombat 11 – NBA 2K – Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid – Rage 2 – Rise of the Tomb Raider – Samurai Shodown – Shadow of the Tomb Raider – The Crew 2 – Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint – Tomb Raider Definitive Edition – Trials Rising – Wolfenstein: Youngblood
As for why I’m not quite convinced about Google Stadia, a number of people who watched the stream reported problems with the stream’s resolution, as it was inconsistent, jumping from 1080p to 480p. VG247 tweeted about it themselves, calling it “a bad omen”, and I’m inclined to agree.
This Stadia stream keeps flitting between 480p and 1080p for us. A bad omen.
Google spent the majority of those 30 minutes talking about how proud they are of the gaming experience they’d be able to provide while using Stadia, but if the quality of their video streams suffer when over 100,000 people are watching their content live, how are they going to fare when delivering 4K resolution gameplay to potentially millions of players around the world?
While I’m sure there’s a technical explanation as to why streaming a game and streaming a video is completely different and I’ll be told off in the comments for it, today wasn’t a good indicator of Stadia’s potential. After today, Google certainly have their work cut out for them to sell Stadia as the product of the future.