I enjoy spending some time on my games console when I have a couple of hours free. I’ll admit, as I get older finding that time is more difficult. So, when I turn on my console only to find there’s an hour’s worth of updates, I get a little annoyed.
Today, Google Stadia was unveiled to the world and it is going to change gaming. I know, I know. Every single day there seems to be something that changes an institutional industry, but Google Stadia is quite likely going to have an impact on gaming like Netflix had on Xtravision.
What is Google Stadia?
Google Stadia removes the requirement for you to have a console or high spec computer in order to play the latest games. In a way, to follow on from my Netflix and Xtravision comparison, this is the gaming equivilant of being able to watch Blu-ray quality movies by streaming instead of having a disc.
Google Stadia will allow gamers to play the latest titles straight from the cloud through a plethora of devices. Not fancy devices either. You’ll be able to play games which have just been released using yout Chromecast and a special Google Stadia controller. Want to use your own USB controller? No problem, you’ll also be able to stream games straight to your laptop through Chrome browser, smartphones, TVs and tablets.
I’m not talking about low resolutions here either. Stadia will allow you to stream console-quality games in 4K and 60 frames per second with HDR and glorious surround sound while also being future-proofed for whatever is coming next.
What Will You Need To Run Google Stadia?
At launch, Google Stadia will support desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. You will not need a box. By that I mean there’s no need for a console like the Xbox or PlayStation. The reason for this is because Google does all the hard work on their side, streaming the data to you instead of you having a machine with the power required to do it locally.
Say you’re watching a video of someone streaming a playthrough of the latest GTA game on the official Rockstar Games YouTube channel. When the video finishes, a popup asks if you’d like to play. With a simple click, you’re in the game. It’s science fiction stuff, except this is coming in 2019.
Internet Connection Required To Run Google Stadia
As you might imagine, this does mean you’ll need a fairly fast internet connection, which I understand could send a chill down the spine of the Irish. National Broadband Plan crisis aside, let’s look at this in a positive light.
Back to the GTA example. If it’s your first time running Stadia, you’ll be prompted to run an internet connection test. Google will use this to ensure you meet the minimum requirements to play live games. Google looks at the latency between you and the servers, bandwidth and the likes with the service requiring a streaming rate of 15Mbps, the latency of less than 40ms and an ability to handle 95% of data without any loss.
Sounds ambitious? Fair enough, I’ll agree with you but for some, it’s easier to have a connection like this than an expensive console which will inevitably be obsolete at some stage down the line. With that said, Google ain’t a charity.
How Much Will Google Stadia Cost?
Just how much Google will charge for the Stadia service remains an unknown, but I’m happy to make some wild speculations. How we pay for things has changed in recent years. Subscription models have become common place and the absolute default for younger generations. Instead of investing on several albums or movie rentals per year, we pay a subscription to services like Spotify or Netflix. Gamers pay a premium to access streaming services like Twitch and I fully expect Google to go down this route.
While its possible Google could charge gamers €75 and up to access a single game, €10 per month to access a full range of games seems much more likely. Then again, with the YouTube integration, maybe this is another string to the bow of YouTube Premium. There’s no limit to what Google might do here, so watch this space.
Google Stadia Irish Launch Date
Oh, come on now. You know I don’t know that. Well, I don’t know exactly, but Google has committed to its Stadia platform launching later this year. Yep, you should be able to take advantage of this platform in 2019 and maybe even Ireland from launch. Maybe, just maybe it’ll launch in Ireland from the get-go as Google did confirm a UK, US and “much of Europe” launch.
…And That Stadia Controller?
So, if you’re playing through desktop you can use your own controllers if you like. Google is, however, planning for you to game through a Chromecast which means you’ll need your own Stadia Controller. This thing doesn’t connect to anything locally, but instead directly to where Google is streaming the game from in the cloud via your WiFi connection.
This is the crux of it all. If Google can make this work seamlessly without lag that leaves you as a head shot magnet, well hell…this whole thing might just work.
Would you prefer to pay a membership for unlimited games? Is the PC master-race ready for a new challenger? Will Irish internet connectivity even be able to handle the likes of Stadia? Let us know what you think in the comments below.