Deepen in the article Google Stadia new video game streaming service (called cloud gaming) launched by Google in late 2019. It is a whole new concept, some spoke of the death of the console.
In fact, Google wanted to create the first intangible console, accessible by anyone with a sufficiently fast Internet connection and a compatible device. In our study we will give you all the details currently known on the nascent platform.
How does Google Stadia work?
The concept of cloud gaming is simple and the approach is also quite new which could be confusing; we try to explain it in a simple way.
The type of approach chosen by Google is called Game Streaming and works in a conceptually simple way: everything related to the computation of data and graphics of the game is managed by Google’s mainframe and the gamer receives the result in the form of a video stream streaming (to interact with the game it sends its controls via the network to the Stadia datacenters).
The datacenters are based on AMD Radeon hardware (similar to the next gen consoles, PlayStation 5 and Xbox) and should guarantee for each user an equivalent computational capacity of 10.7 TeraFlops , and 16 GB of RAM.
Any user in possession of a game on the platform can launch it without installation, configuration or waits. In addition, it can change the game station instantly, switching from ChromeCast Ultra to PC to Google Pixel smartphone. In the near future, the possibility of direct 4K is expected.
How much do Google Stadia subscriptions cost?
It has already been announced that there will be two possible subscriptions to the service:
- The basic plan does not include costs or games included and the resolution will be limited to 1080p. This plan will be free, just enter the store, buy any of the available titles and you can play it in the cloud.
- The paid plan provides a monthly cost of € 9.99, the possibility of playing up to a resolution of 4K, some free games included (about two per month, in the style of PlayStation Plus), and discounts on other titles in the catalog.
To date, neither of the two floors is active. They should be activated according to BigG starting from the first months of 2020. For now, the only way to use the service is to buy a Stadia Premiere Edition kit (available at € 129 on the Store ), or to have a Buddy Pass available, or a friend code that is offered with the Stadia Premiere Edition (it is assumed that your friend has already purchased it). The kit contains a Stadia controller and a ChromeCast Ultra .
What hardware do you need to use Google Stadia?
The service is compatible with ChromeCast Ultra and in this case you need the Stadia joystick. With the PCs running Chrome, here you can use any type of controller and also keyboard and mouse. The possibility of connecting the Stadia controller to the PC without cable should arrive in the first months of 2020.
Obviously, all this must be accompanied by an adequate internet connection; you can verify that yours is with this test. Attention, no mobile connection is supported, only WiFi or even better Ethernet. The connection requirements are:
- To play at 720p at 60 fps a speed between 10 Mb / six and 20 Mb / s is required.
- To reach 1080p at 60 fps between 20 Mb / six and 30 Mb / s are required.
- If you exceed 35 Mb / s you can play at 60 fps with HDR video, 5.1 Surround sound, and with 4K resolution.
What do the first tests say?
Several newspapers have reviewed the service and from these tests several interesting data emerge:
- The games available at the moment broadcast in 4K are actually rendered by the 1080p datacenters and then upscaled, this is a choice of the teams that have ported. The situation will certainly improve when they have more experience with Vulkan bookstores. To date, the graphics are close to those of local current gen consoles (PS4, Xbox One) and, given the computational capacity of Google’s data centers, it is likely that it will increase in the future.
- The performance in terms of fluidity and input lag comparable or sometimes indistinguishable from local gaming is preferably obtained on ChromeCast Ultra connected to the internet via Ethernet.
- If you connect via a good 5 GHz WiFi network, the performance is good but not perfect: the input lag is normally very good but the video quality in some moments can drop and peeps from the compression artifacts of the video stream.
- The transmission consumes a variable amount of data between 3 GB and 20 GB per hour, based on the quality of the connection.
What are the main competitors and alternatives to Google Stadia?
Competition to Google’s new gaming service is quite strong:
The main competitor is undoubtedly xCloud, the project launched in free beta by Microsoft, which however along the lines of the beloved Game Pass has approached cloud gaming with a different logic: while Stadia is in practice an online console to be accessed from various positions, smartphones, PCs, and TVs (with Chromecast Ultra), xCloud for now is only accessible from smartphones and seems structured as a subscription service in Netflix style, paying a fixed monthly fee you will have unlimited access to an ever expanding library of titles.
This is configured as the main rival of Stadia also for the performances and for the reduced input lag.
Unfortunately, to date, the service is available in beta, with limited invitations and only for some countries (USA, Great Britain and South Korea), in 2020 it should also land with us. Also in 2020, expansion to PCs is expected and perhaps the 720p resolution limit is exceeded.
Another interesting competitor is Nvidia GeForce Now , which allows you to install your games purchased on Steam or Epic Store on the Nvidia datacenter and to be able to play them directly in streaming for free on PC and smartphone. The service is currently in beta by invitation and if you own an Nvidia Shield (we talked about it among the best Tv Boxes ) you are entitled to an invitation.
An already available competitor is Playstation Now , a subscription service that at € 9.99 per month, allows you to play streaming a large catalog of Playstation titles on PC and PS4. Playstation Now is limited to 720p resolution when it comes to streaming titles.