Our long wait is finally over: Google Stadia, this universal game-changing streaming service, has gone live now! It debuted late November, 2019.
As discussed in earlier articles from this column, on this launch date, Google Stadia will ONLY be available to subscribers of the Stadia Founder’s Edition. As you may recall, this $129 package includes a controller, Chromecast Ultra for TV, 3 months of Stadia Pro and a “FREE” streamed copy of Destiny 2. If you are not already a Founder’s Edition subscriber, then you will have to wait for three months before you can experience Stadia.
After the three month Stadia perk for Founder’s subscribers has lapsed, then regular subscribers can join in the game-streaming party. This Stadia Pro option will cost $9.99 per month (three months of this option are included with the Founder’s Edition subscription) PLUS the cost for purchasing any games. No free lunch here, yet.
At October’s Made by Google event, there was a mention that a “free tier” would be launched in 2020. This option will include stereo sound and 1080p game streaming. The free option is in stark contrast with the previously mentioned Stadia Pro which will feature 4K game streaming, HDR color, 5.1 surround sound and one free game per month. Regardless of your subscription tier, you will receive at least 60 frames per second (fps) for game playback.
Unfortunately, there were some surprising “details” mentioned at the October event that disappointed many of the Stadia faithful.666
Bundled inside these surprising caveats that caught some Stadia followers by surprise was the limitation on mobile devices that will be able to access Stadia at the time of launch. Only Pixel 3 and 3a phones (and presumably the new Pixel 4 family of smartphones) and Chrome OS tablets (e.g., Pixel Slate, HP Chromebook X2, etc.) will have access. Furthermore, the Stadia controller will only work in wireless mode with Chromecast Ultra. Any computer, however, with a Google Chrome browser will work with the Stadia controller using a wired USB connection and have access to Stadia. Additionally, you will be able to use third-party controllers with Chrome on your Stadia-streaming computer.
As for games, Google had previously stated that 31 games would be ready on the Stadia launch day. Since the bulk of these promised titles have already been released, this goal should be attainable (and do not forget two of these 31 titles are reliable DOOM standards). Luckily, lots of game developers want to jump onto the Stadia bandwagon, so this list of games is increasing. In fact, both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Orcs Must Die 3 should join the Stadia party in March 2020.
Is this a bumpy start for Stadia or just a minor, forgettable glitch? According to Stadia chief, Rick Osterloh, “Stadia is aiming to deliver the best games ever made to just about any screen in your life”. Enough said.
If you are still confused about all of this Stadia stuff, there is a Google-made video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwb6d2wK3Qw that explains “how Stadia works” or, as its also known, “Stadia 101”.