Back in march, Google shocked the world when it announced it had set its sights on the gaming industry.
To much fanfare, the US tech giant said it was creating a new digital platform which would provide console-standard gaming facilitated by streaming.
Ahead of Gamescom launching to the public tomorrow, Google has unveiled more details about its new Stadia platform.
Here’s what you need to know about Google Stadia.
How does it work?
Stadia is a cloud-based platform that will allow players to stream and play different games wherever they are. Instead of playing on a console, all you need is an internet connection and a compatible device, such as a Google Pixel 3 or 3a smartphone, a Chromecast and a smart TV, or a PC in the Google Chrome browser.
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The Pro version of Google stadia promises to offer up to 4K gaming, speeds of up to 60 fps (frames per second – which is pretty fast) and surround sound.
If you’re playing at home, there is a Stadia controller which uses Wi-Fi to connect directly to the specific game running in the data centre. The controller also has two extra buttons compared to the normal console controller, one to capture footage and one to bring up the Google Assistant.
What games are coming to Google Stadia?
There are more than 30 games coming to Google Stadia at launch, with other publishers set to announce subsequent titles.
The Elder Scrolls is on the list, as well as Football Manager, Final Fantasy XV, Borderlands 3, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Destiny 2. Google says that Capcom, EA and Rockstar will announce games for Stadia at some point in the future.
Launch titles announced so far:
- Bandai Namco - Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Bethesda - DOOM Eternal, DOOM 2016, Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: Youngblood
- Bungie - Destiny 2, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Expansion
- CD PROJEKT RED - Cyberpunk 2077
- Chump Squad - KINE
- Coatsink - Get Packed
- Codemasters - GRID
- Dotemu - Windjammers 2
- Deep Silver - Metro Exodus
- Drool - Thumper
- Giants Software - Farming Simulator 19
- Larian Studios - Baldur’s Gate 3
- nWay Games - Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
- Omega Force - Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle
- Pandemic Studios - Destroy All Humans!
- Robot Entertainment - Orcs Must Die 3
- Sega - Football Manager
- SNK - Samurai Shodown
- Square Enix, Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Marvel’s Avengers
- SUPERHOT - SUPERHOT
- 2K - NBA 2K, Borderlands 3
- Tequila Works - Gylt
- Warner Bros - Mortal Kombat 11
- THQ - Darksiders Genesis
- Ubisoft - Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance , Tom Clancy’s, Ghost Recon Breakpoint , Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Trials ,Rising, The Crew 2, Watch Dogs: Legion
When will I be able to play Google Stadia and how much does it cost?
Google Stadia is launching in the UK in November 2019, but you will only be able to play Stadia if you purchase a Stadia Pro subscription.
For £8.99 a month, players get access to the best features of Stadia, including the ability to play games in 4K, at 60fps and with surround sound. They will have access to all the free games to play, as well as discounts on purchasing other games to buy.
To be able to play on the new platform come November, you need to pre-order the Stadia Founder’s Edition pack for £119. This includes a Chromecast Ultra, a limited edition Night Blue controller, three months of Stadia Pro for you and a friend, and the chance to select a Stadia name. Google says with a Stadia Founder name, your chosen name will only have letters, no numbers, which is a big deal in the gaming world.
There will be a free version on its way, named Stadia Base, but you’ll have to wait until 2020. This will offer gaming speeds of up to 1080p/60fps with stereo sound, and you’ll be able to buy games, not stream titles for free the way you can with the pro subscription.
Is this the Netflix for gaming?
Not exactly. With Netflix, you pay a monthly subscription fee and you can watch all the shows, documentaries and films on the platform at no extra cost.
With Stadia Pro, there will be some games you have to pay to play. Essentially the subscription allows players to access the best of Stadia, so the ability to stream AAA games with all the fancy tech behind it to make the experience exceed playing on a console, and there will be a few games that are available to play for free, but there will be certain games you have to pay in order to access.
Paying for the Pro subscription means gamers will receive a discount when purchasing titles, but more details on the specific discount will be available come November.
In contrast, services like Xbox Game Pass offer gamers access to a range of games for a monthly subscription fee. If there’s a game that isn’t on Game Pass, then customers can purchase and download it from the Microsoft Store. However, with Game Pass you download the games, not stream them the way you do on Stadia.
It is an interesting concept to bring streaming into the gaming world. This has been fairly difficult to pull off before as it needs such a strong internet connection. However, Stadia draws on what The Verge calls Google’s “beefy servers” in the company’s data centres which allows it to offer gameplay with little to no lag.
Google Stadia is available to pre-order from the Google Store