Today, Google Stadia, a revolutionary service for streaming games, was officially released in the United States and several European countries, as we were told by Google at the time of the system's announcement. 4k and 60 FPS in modern games, a number of innovative features thanks to integration with Youtube, no input lag when streaming games, and all this without having to buy an expensive console. In words, it sounds even too good, but the first Western reviews of Google Stadia do not skimp on criticism and simply do not understand what target audience the console is designed for. In this article, we have collected detailed information about all the problems and benefits of Google Stadia.
How Google Stadia Works
It was assumed that the new technology would be effective and, most importantly, a cheap replacement for an expensive gaming PC or console. And what the manufacturer really did was to save gamers from the need to look for a place where to attach an ever-growing stack of discs and no longer hear the annoying hum from the coolers of the gaming device. Numerous Google servers remotely handle game streaming for each individual user and should deliver 10.7 teraflops of performance, nearly double the power of the most powerful Xbox One X console to date.
Just how cheap gaming on Stadia turned out to be is a moot point. To get started, you need to buy a Chromecast Ultra media player, which comes with a branded gamepad. Then connect it to your PC, TV or Pixel smartphone. The cost of the player is $ 130 - this time. In addition, the service is currently working on a Stadia Pro subscription and will require an additional $ 10 for each month of using the technology - that's two. Despite the presence of a subscription, the service cannot be called an analogue of Playstation Now or Game Pass and requires paying from 20 to 100 dollars for each game - that's three.
In total, Stadia does not seem to be such a profitable investment anymore. Especially considering that during the period of "Black Friday" Playstation 4 give away for 199 dollars at once with three games included. And the Xbox One is even cheaper at $ 149.
Important note: today, together with Chromecast Ultra, users are given three months of subscription to Stadia Pro, and already in foggy 2020, the company promises to completely cancel the mandatory subscription to use Google Stadia. At the same time, premium features of the service such as 4K, 60FPS, regular discounts and free games once a month will be available only with a monthly payment of Stadia Pro.
Streaming on Google Stadia
In general, numerous publications agree that despite a number of problems, Google Stadia offers the best picture among all services for streaming games. For example, this opinion is shared by The Verge portal. Digital Foundry, in turn, agreed with colleagues and conducted a detailed review of the displayed image and the duration of the delay between pressing the gamepad and the response of the game character.
For starters, it's worth noting that despite initial promises, no Stadia game runs in 4K and maximum graphics settings. The service is in test mode and the company guarantees to add most of the functions next year.
Digital Foundry commented positively on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which, despite some problems with image jamming, produces a picture in dark locations that is almost indistinguishable from the Xbox One X version.
A less rosy picture from Red Dead Redemption 2. The Rockstar Western renders at similar graphics settings to the Xbox One X, but looks worse, since, unlike the console version of the game, it does not support 4K resolution. The maximum quality of the displayed image is 1440r. The frame rate is also not so smooth - instead of the promised 60 FPS, the game runs at 30 frames per second. But this rule does not apply to all games. For example, Destiny 2's multiplayer shooter runs at 60 FPS.
What really frustrated Digital Foundry was input latency - a major issue for all streaming platforms. On average, Stage games run 40-60 milliseconds more latency than consoles. In addition, there were problems with compression artifacts and periodic freezes.
The best example of input lag problems is The Washington Post. And this is at a gigabit Internet speed. As you can see, playing Google Stage in such conditions can seem like real torture.
At the same time, it should be noted that although the delays are significant, not all users experience such catastrophic problems with input lag. Most Google Stadia reviews report a more or less comfortable game with internet speeds of 100-200 Mbps. For example, the same The Guardian was generally satisfied with the response rate. Provided that you are not playing Destiny 2, Mortal Combat 11, or other multiplayer-oriented games, of course, where even minimal latency issues can decide the battle.
Also, the reviews speak ambiguously about the main advantage of Google Stadia - the ability to play AAA games on a smartphone. Considering the high requirements of the system to the speed of the Internet and the recommendation to connect the Chromecast Ultra docking station to the local network, you simply cannot go outdoors with your smartphone. It remains to be content with only home gaming.
But there is some positive news. Ironically, The Washington Post noted that the technology works best on a Google Pixel 3a XL smartphone connected to a gamepad.
Google Stadia Gamepad
As mentioned above, a special gamepad is supplied with the Chromecast Ultra, which is also a prerequisite for playing in the service. Over time, of course, Google promises to add support for third-party controllers, but for now all users will have to settle for the original gaming device. Therefore, it was vital for the company to create an ergonomic and comfortable gamepad.
As can be judged by The Guardian's review, Google achieved the goal and even in the absence of experience in the field of gaming were able to create a decent controller. Even more, over time, the journalist admitted that he would not refuse to use the gamepad on other gaming platforms. In general, the gamepad follows the basic design elements of Sony and Microsoft products, but has several unique features. The first one enables Google Assistant, the second one allows you to instantly stream games to Youtube.
Unfortunately, both features are not available when Google Stadia launched.
Games on Google Stadia
Now let's move on to the main component of any game streaming service - in fact, to games. The Stages library currently includes 22 titles and announcements for 14 more titles by the end of 2019. There was a place for both current AAA games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and high-profile projects of the past. These include Assassins Creed Odyssey, Doom and Just Dance 2020.
Of particular interest are exclusive games that are announced for release only on Google Stadia. The company even set up a separate studio under the direction of Assassins Creed series producer Jade Raymond, focused on developing exclusive titles. We do not expect the first news about the games of the newly minted studio until 2020, so now we will turn our attention to the only real gaming exclusive of “Stages” - the adventure game GYLT from the developers of Tequila Works.
Critics greeted the game without much enthusiasm, praising the design and successful implementation of the horror game with children as playable characters in GYLT. But the main aspects, such as the plot and gameplay, did not receive much praise, which is why GYLT is unlikely to become the very system seller that players will want to buy Google Stadia for. At the same time, the game is distributed for free along with the Chromecast Ultra bundle, so it does an excellent job with the nice bonus feature.
As we mentioned above, although you have a subscription for games in Google Stadia, you will have to pay. And in this, in fact, there is nothing to worry about, if not for the strange pricing system. Even projects a year ago, such as Assassins Creed Odyssey and Shadows of the Tomb Raider, remain priced at $ 59.99. At the same time, the latter, already two weeks after the release in 2018, began to be sold with large discounts, and recently it was completely handed out for free in Xbox Game Pass.
We are sorry to admit that Google's first "pancake" in the gaming arena "came out lumpy." In an attempt to catch up with the holiday period, an international IT company released a crude product that lacks many of the previously announced functions, surprises with a high price and, thanks to a minimal library of games, is simply uncompetitive compared to similar solutions from Microsoft and Sony. In numerous Google Stadia reviews, reviewers often cite only one advantage of the service - it works, but with all the shortcomings, this is clearly not enough to replace a gaming PC or consoles.
Perhaps in the future, when the gap in the game library is filled, the promised functions return and Google Stadia is launched in USA, you can try to give a chance to the new Google technology. In the meantime, for everyone who wants to get acquainted with cloud gaming, we recommend paying attention to PlayStation Now. Earlier we published an article on how to launch a streaming service in USA.
The Topic of Article: In-depth review of Google Stadia - the gaming revolution is canceled.