Following in the footsteps of OnLive, Xbox Game Pass, and Sony PlayStation Now, Google Stadia is a video game cloud service that aims to stream games at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second (fps). It’s an ambitious project from the tech giant, and unlike earlier efforts, it doesn’t require an actual game console.
In the past, you needed to own a specific console to hook up to your TV. Stadia is meant to circumvent that by allowing you to use your current devices instead of forcing you to purchase a console to play games. It is capable of streaming off any device with an internet connection and access to Google Chrome.
With Stadia, Google hopes to extend gaming to consumer devices that can run Google Chrome such as smartphones, smart televisions, Google Chromecast, and tablets. This will be done by using a controller, which connects directly to nearby Google-owned data centers located throughout the world. Then, you’ll be able to stream games directly to your device via the internet.
This means no download times and potentially seamless load times between your device of choice and the game you are playing. Additionally, you don’t need to use Stadia with the latest generation of devices. As long as they meet the minimum requirements needed to connect to Google’s data centers, you may be able to access a library of games with what you already own.
Streaming with Google Stadia
Unlike Netflix or Hulu, players streaming games via Google Stadia will actually have to buy the games they are streaming. What the technology aims to do is allow players to have access to any game in an instant without the use of a console or gaming PC. This opens up the possibility of gaming to millions of people who in the past would not have considered it because of the cost of entry (consoles alone typically cost around $300).
In order to double down on development of the streaming service, Google hired Jade Raymond as the lead executive in charge of Stadia Games and Entertainment . Raymond is best known as the producer of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and was the former head of Ubisoft Montreal and Motive Studios under EA.
Connecting players with developers
In terms of the community aspect of streaming, Google Stadia aims to connect players and developers in unprecedented ways. Through the use of State Share, streamers and develops can share playable scenarios with Stadia users. This allows developers to connect directly with their audience and share prototypes of their games as they are making them.
Google also announced that the Stadia controller will feature Google Assist functionality. Google Assist will key in on what games players are playing and automatically search YouTube for helpful videos, particularly if a player is stuck at a particular part in the game.
How much will Google Stadia cost?
Although access to the base Google Stadia just requires you to pay for the games you want to buy, Google will offer various tiers of service. As a result, the Google Stadia price depends on what you want to get out of the platform.
Stadia Base is free
The first tier, Stadia Base, is free and allows users to play any game they purchase at 1080p 60 fps, which will look great for just about any current generation game.
Stadia Pro cost
The second tier of service, Stadia Pro, costs $9.99 per month and bumps you up to the 4K 60 fps threshold that the service is advertised as being capable of. This subscription will offer one free game per month, as well as exclusive discounts on game purchases. While Google has not announced what games will be discounted on this tier, they did confirm that Destiny 2 will be a part of the subscription .
Stadia Founder’s Edition cost
Google is also releasing a Stadia Founder’s Edition, which retails at $129. This includes:
Google Stadia Controller, which is sold separately at $69
Google Chromecast Ultra, which also is sold separately for $69
3-month subscription to Stadia Pro
3-month Stadia Pro code that you can give to a friend
Copy of Destiny 2 with all of its expansions to date
What games can I play on Google Stadia?
At launch, Google Stadia will feature various current generation games that have advanced graphics. These include Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Doom Eternal, the aforementioned Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XV, and Mortal Kombat 11. Google also announced that Gylt, a game by developer Tequila Works, and Get Packed, a co-op party game from Moonshine Studios, will be launch exclusives for Stadia .
Uplay+ joins in
Ubisoft revealed that its new Uplay+ service will be compatible with Google Stadia. Uplay+ gives gamers access to a game library of more than 100 Ubisoft titles for $15 per month, including all the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry games.
In terms of graphics capacity, Google Stadia is said to run at 10.7 GPU teraflops, which totals more than the combined power of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X . This will allow Google Stadia to stream games that come out far into the future, all on any WiFi-enabled device. Google estimates that by using this technology, it will eventually be able to run games at 8K resolution with 120 fps.
The best devices to use with Google Stadia
You’ll be able to use Google Stadia with many different devices at launch. And it all depends on which screen and resolution you prefer, because you’ll be able to run the cloud gaming service on a compatible TV, PC, Mac, or smartphone.
1. Google Chromecast
If you want to game on your TV, you’ll need the Google Chromecast Ultra to stream the content from Google’s data centers. You will also need to purchase the Stadia controller to actually play the games. Additionally, make sure you have an HDMI port open, because that’s how you’ll connect the Chromecast Ultra.
2. PC or Mac
You can also connect to Google Stadia via your PC or Mac. To connect to a PC, you need to be running Windows 7 or higher. This means that any PC released after 2010 will likely be able to be used with Google Stadia.
For a Mac, you will need to have macOS X 10.9 or higher. Macs purchased in late 2013 or after will have this OS. On top of those OS requirements, you need to install the Google Chrome browser.
If you want to play games on a portable device, you’ll be glad to know you can use a tablet or smartphone. However, Google Stadia will be limited as to what tablets and smartphones will be compatible with it.
At launch, Google Stadia will only work with four smartphones: the Pixel 3, the Pixel 3a, the Pixel 3a XL and the Pixel 3XL. This means that any other smartphones and tablets won’t be capable of running Google Stadia - yet.
HP products that can be used with Google Stadia
In order to use Google Stadia, you’ll need a device that can run the games you are streaming. Fortunately, HP® has you covered here with solutions that go beyond the
best laptops and
desktop PCs. While you can absolutely purchase a new computer and then use it with Google Stadia, you can also simplify your setup with the following products.
If you need a monitor to stream your games via Chromecast Ultra, then the
HP 27er monitor is your best bet. Boasting an ultra-thin LCD design with a vivid 1920 x 1080 resolution, this monitor will display current generation games with the same graphics quality as a high-end gaming PC if you pair it with Google Stadia.
Great sound quality is also necessary for an optimal gaming experience. The
HP OMEN gaming line has you got your back here with the
HP OMEN Mindframe headset. This highly rated headset delivers immersive 7.1 surround sound and uses FrostCap technology to cool your ears while you wear it. This will help immensely when paired with Google Stadia, as streaming from any device can result in varying levels of sound quality.
Back in 2013, Microsoft attempted to make the Xbox One the first “always online” console. However, after extensive backlash, Microsoft pulled a 180 and reversed course, reverting the Xbox One back to a traditional console. Now, Google Stadia picks up where Microsoft left off and offers cloud gaming without the hardware component through its data centers.
Using this power, Google plans to bring an unparalleled gaming experience with graphics the likes of which we’ve never seen. It also opens the doors to potential gamers who held out because they didn’t want to buy a console or gaming PC. Stadia launches in November 2019, and time will tell if it’s as revolutionary as Google hopes.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.