In March, Google announced their upcoming online gaming platform, Stadia. Stadia will be an online gaming service where you can purchase games and stream them, with no console to buy. The concept flies in the face of Microsoft and Sony’s plans for next gen consoles which will probably be unveiled, or at least talked about, in the coming months. The next iterations of the XBox and Playstation are sure to be powerhouse units, complete with a hefty price tag. Stadia however, is a service that requires zero hardware, as it will be available on mobile phones and tablets. At Launch, only Pixel 3 devices will be supported, but it sounds like Stadia gameplay will eventually come to all major mobile devices.
In order to play Stadia games on a TV, you will need a Google Chromecast and a controller. Currently, a Founder’s Edition is available, which includes a Chromecast Ultra, an exclusive Night Blue controller, 3 months of the Stadia Pro service for you and 3 months for a friend. The Founder’s Edition is $129.99 and available now, although it will not ship until November.
In an announcement this week the Stadia team announced that purchasing the Founder’s Edition will be the only way to access Stadia this year. In 2020, Stadia will roll out to the masses with a free version of the platform. The free version will be limited to 1080p resolution, Stereo quality audio, and you will only be able to purchase games through Stadia. With the Pro package, priced at $9.99/month, players can enjoy 4K resolution, 5.1 surround sound, and most importantly free games added regularly, starting with Destiny 2:The Collection available at launch. Resolution and sound quality will of course depend on your personal connection speed.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of Stadia is that you will be able to play on multiple devices. So you can start your Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (confirmed title) adventure at home, pause the game and pick it up on your tablet, then later pick right back up on your phone. One obstacle that will be interesting to see Stadia overcome is converting games intended for consoles into touchscreen-friendly games. Although, it could be that you will need to connect your Stadia controller to the device you want to play on.
The Stadia platform has been plugged as the “Future of Gaming”, and if the streaming aspect of the platform performs as it is advertised, it very well could be. I suspect Sony and Microsoft are waiting to see how Stadia performs in 2020 before they begin launching their own game streaming services.