What is Google Stadia?
Google Stadia is an upcoming cloud-based service where you can stream video games to your smart TV, smartphone, tablet or any device where you can access a Google Chrome browser.
The clever and price-saving feature here, is that it doesn’t matter how powerful your hardware is, so you could use a cheap Chromebook to play The Witcher 3 in 4K at 60fps with no technical hiccups – as long as your broadband meet the required speeds. For Ultra HD gaming, you’ll need at least a 30 Mbps connection, while Google says the minimum recommended network speed is 10 Mbps.
Stadia will feature multiple subscription tiers, including a free option which limits you to 1080p at 60fps, and the Stadia Pro which demands a monthly £8.99 but allows you to stream games in 4K. No matter which subscription you opt for, you’ll be required to purchase games on the Stadia store to stream them.
Plenty of games have already been confirmed for Stadia including Borderlands 3, Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Plenty more are expected to follow too.
Having had a chance to try it for ourselves, Trusted Reviews has compiled everything you need to know about Google Stadia including all the latest news, release date, games, specs and our hands-on preview with service.
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Google Stadia Release date – When is Google Stadia coming out?
Google Stadia will launch on November 19 this year.
That release date only applies to 14 territories though, but the UK, US and Canada are included here. Only the Pro Stadia subscription will be available from launch, with the Base (free) subscription launching in 2020.
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Google Stadia Price – How much will Stadia cost?
Google Stadia Pro subscription will cost £8.99 per month. This top-tier subscription model allows you to stream games at up to 4K at 60fps. You’ll also get a free monthly game starting with Destiny 2: The Collection with Stadia Pro.
Stadia Base will also launch in 2020, which allows users to use Google’s streaming platform for free, but the resolution will be capped at Full HD at 60fps. You’ll also be limited to stereo sound instead of surround sound, while every single game will need to be purchased separately.
While those in the UK had the option of preordering Stadia Founder’s Edition for £119 (which includes first-time access to Stadia, comes bundled with Chromecast Ultra, an exclusive Night Blue Stadia Controller and a three-month subscription to Stadia Pro for both yourself and a friend) the bundle has now completely sold out.
There’s no need to worry though, as Google has confirmed the Stadia Premiere Edition will soon replace the Founder’s Edition as the go-to bundle. But despite the “Premiere” name, the only difference between the two bundles is the colour of the controller so you’re really not missing much.
Additional controllers can be purchased separately too, costing £59 each, with three different colour options available: Clearly White, Just Black and Wasabi.
Google Stadia E3 2019 Preview – How does it play?
Google Stadia is supremely impressive technology, showcasing a streaming future that holds unparalleled potential – yet it also presents a multitude of problems that question my love for the medium in the first place. The company’s vision of the future isn’t in consoles of peripherals, but a gaming experience where everything happens in the cloud.
It’s hard to fault Google’s ambition here, and Stadia as a fledgling technology has already impressed me. Although with only a few months from the November 2019 launch, there are still multiple kinks to work out for the public to really enjoy what the service has to offer.
The data centre it was drawing the gameplay from was located in San Francisco as I sat in a comfortable lounge in Downtown Los Angeles. These were presumably optimal conditions, so I expected Stadia to work without missing a beat.
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Although DOOM Eternal was perfectly playable in this way, I’d never choose it over native hardware that promised more consistent performance and lack of latency across the board. From the tutorial, aiming felt great, essentially nailing what I’d expect from a console or PC being in the room. I could pull of headshots flawlessly while bounding across the room without issue.
However, the same fluidity can’t be lauded upon image quality, which was inconsistent at times. Upon turning the camera, environments would appear muddy and artefacts obvious as Google Stadia tried to draw in the image at a 1080p target resolution. Having already played DOOM Eternal on a high-end system, the difference was like night and day. Which begs the question, why would someone with a modern console opt for Stadia?
Performance failed to hit the 60fps target I’ve come to expect from id Software’s shooter series, making it harder to keep moving in the chaos of a firefight or fully comprehend the demons slowly surrounding you. I imagine Stadia is perfect for slower-paced genres, like platformers and action-adventure experiences, but with something like DOOM Eternal, visual and performance clarity is paramount. In my demo, that’s not what I got.
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Google Stadia controller preview – How does it feel to use?
While I still have some concerns about Stadia itself, the controller is absolutely gorgeous. It feels intuitive to use thanks to clever thumbstick and button layout across the board. Buttons react with a satisfying compression, each command slickly executed with or without latency.
Thumbsticks are equally impressive, allowing for razor-sharp responses in shooters like DOOM Eternal. Unfortunately I didn’t find myself in a position to use the d-pad, although it feels robust against your fingers and should be ideal for games that demand it.
Alongside the usual bells and whistles, there are buttons for the following functions – Start, Select, Google Assistant and Gameplay Capture/Streaming. It’s taking cues from modern controller design while also putting its own spin of things, and I really dig it. Google has confirmed it will be compatible with other consoles and devices too, if the design tickles your fancy and you want to pick one up.
As I mentioned earlier, Google Stadia still has so much untapped potential, and I feel it’s still too early in the world of on-demand streaming for it to really capitalise on a huge audience.
I’m willing to be proven wrong later this year, but seeing DOOM Eternal falter under optimal conditions has left me doubtful.
Google Stadia Games – All the confirmed titles
We’ve compiled the complete list of Stadia games confirmed thus far below:
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Attack on Titan 2
- Baldur’s Gate 3
- Borderlands 3
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Darksiders Genesis
- Destiny 2
- Destroy All Humans
- DOOM Eternal
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Farming Simulator 19
- Final Fantasy XV
- Football Manager 2020
- Get Packed
- Just Dance 2020
- Marvel’s Avengers
- Metro Exodus
- Mortal Kombat 11
- NBA 2K
- Orcs Must Die 3
- Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
- Rage 2
- Samurai Shodown
- The Crew 2
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- The Division 2
- Tomb Raider
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Trials Rising
- Watch Dogs Legion
- Wolfenstein Youngblood
Google Stadia Specs – How powerful is Stadia?
Crucially, Stadia is ‘in the cloud’ and so you’ll never see the rigs pushing pixels around your screen, but the machines are far from ethereal and have some serious grunt behind them. They are packing a 2.7GHz x86 processor with 16GB RAM, but Google has also partnered with AMD for custom GPUs, which apparently have 10.7 teraflops of power.
Bear in mind the Xbox One X, the most powerful console on the market currently, can only muster 6 teraflops. It’s hard to get a handle on exactly how well it’ll perform based on this, seeing as teraflops don’t really indicate performance, but it shows that there’s some serious grunt going on behind the scenes.
While Google is clear that Stadia itself is not a box (“the data centre is your platform”), the company has made a custom gamepad for it. At a glance, it looks a bit like an Xbox pad has lost a bit of weight, but Google highlights two important buttons that hint at where it seems to see Stadia as going in the long term. The capture button instantly shares with YouTube via a live stream, while the Google Assistant button opens a built-in microphone for assistance and special features within games.
“Think about the way the web works – you can easily share a link and it works seamlessly. We want games to feel that way too: instantly enjoyable with access for everyone,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, introducing Stadia.
Google also showed off its resolution ranges, detailing what internet connection you’ll need for each resolution. Download speeds of 20 MBps are required for a recommended 1080p resolution, while you’ll need download speeds of around 30 MBps to get the ideal performance for 4K streams. The absolute minimum download speeds that Google recommends are 10 Mbps, which most home Wi-Fi networks should be able to deal with. Head to the Google Stadia website, and you’ll be able to test your connection to see whether your broadband is up to the challenge.
Google Stadia Phones –What phones are compatible?
While Google plans for Stadia to work on any Android smartphone in the future, the app will only be available for select handsets at launch.
Unsurprisingly, Google has chosen its own smartphones to be the sole option for Stadia streaming on launch. Here’s every phone confirmed for Stadia so far:
Google also controversially revealed Stadia will only work over a Wi-Fi connection, ruling out the possibility of using 4G or 5G to stream, at least at launch.