Struggling to find its place in a market dominated by very few, very large players, Google has began shipping units for the launch of a new cloud-based game streaming platform; Stadia. Promising the world a new way to play games, including instant save-state sharing, enhancements for creators who go live while playing, and the ability for anyone with a solid internet connection to become a gamer without investing in a console, top tier phone, or computer.
Between the announcement of shipping delays for many units, limited features at launch, and the lack of a compelling ‘Killer App’, Stadia’s launch can already be described as essentially an early access with the online experience side of the launch seemingly in Beta for the foreseeable future akin to many of Google’s other products. With all of this information on-board, there are still scenarios in which Stadia makes sense for consumers, and we will be testing those in the near future with our own upcoming review.
For now, if you aren’t obsessed with technology, you’re probably better off to wait until this Beta period bears more fruit. That being said, we could start seeing Google’s investment in first party talent paying off, including the hiring of Amy Hennig, Creative Director of Uncharted 2, Jade Raymond, Co-Creator of Assassin’s Creed, and apparently another PlayStation 3 era headliner Jack Tretton.
STADIA FIRST PARTY STUDIOS
“We have a plan that includes building out a few different first-party studios, it won’t be four years before gamers get to see the new exclusive, exciting content. There will be some coming out every year, and more and more each year.” – Jade Raymond, Vice President Stadia Games and Entertainment Division at Google.
We don’t know much of the upcoming exclusives being developed for Stadia at the moment, but interviews with heads of staff continue to develop a growing image in our minds about what a game developed specifically for Stadia could offer. In some scenarios it is possible for multiple Stadia “consoles” (which are effectively server racks) to be used as one computing power source to produce titles with thousands of users in-game at the same time rather than in shards of 100 – 250 players as commonly seen in the MMO world on PC. In addition to this there can be physics based titles with more power than is available in a traditional console.
STADIA GAMES LINEUP
Here are the titles you can play on Stadia at launch, keep in mind that target demographic may be players who don’t currently own a PS4 so they might not have played a lot of these titles at all yet!
- GYLT (Stadia Exclusive) – $29.99 USD
- Final Fantasy XV – $39.99 ($29.99 w/ Stadia Pro Discount)
- Red Dead Redemption 2 – $59.99 (Launch Edition), $79.99 (Special Edition), $99.99 (Ultimate Edition)
- Mortal Kombat 11 – $59.99 ($41.99 w/ Stadia Pro Discount) or $89.99 (Premium Edition), $62.99 (Premium Edition w/ Stadia Pro Discount)
- Rage 2
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – $59.99 ($30.00 w/ Stadia Pro Discount) or $119.99 (Ultimate Edition), $60.00 (Ultimate Edition w/ Stadia Pro Discount)
- NBA 2K20
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
- Metro Exodus
- Grid 2019
- Just Dance 2020 – $49.99
- Kine – $19.99
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider – $59.99
- Rise of the Tomb Raider – $29.99
- Tomb Raider 2013 – $19.99 ($10.00 w/ Stadia Pro Discount)
- Thumper – $19.99
- Trials Rising
- Attack On Titan: Final Battle 2
- Farming Simulator 2019
- Football Manager 2020
Destiny 2: The Collection and Samurai Showdown ($59.99 without Stadia Pro) will also be included as part of Stadia Pro or the Stadia: Founder’s Edition along with some other freebie games for subscribers of Stadia Pro from time to time, although Google has not yet revealed which games will be part of that offer.
2019 Game Releases:
- Borderlands 3
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 3
- Darksiders Genesis
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
2020 Game Releases:
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Watch Dogs Legion
- Doom Eternal
- Gods and Monsters
TBA Game Releases:
- Get Packed (Stadia Exclusive)
- Baldur’s Gate 3
- Marvel’s Avengers
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Destroy All Humans
- Superhot Mind Control Delete
- Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
- Doom 2016
- Windjammers 2
- Orcs Must Die 3!
- The Crew 2
- Capcom Games (To Be Revealed)
- EA Games (To Be Revealed)
User Interface: Shockingly, Stadia will not launch with its full user interface and instead will function more as an empty launcher until its software experience has been fully laid out for release in 2020. Currently, a smartphone is required to initialize and set up Stadia.
Omni-Channel Games Store: There will only be one way to buy games at launch for Stadia until its UI / Web Store release in 2020.
Achievements: Players will earn achievements towards their Stadia profile, but the visual notification / listing of achievements added (i.e. Trophy System) will be available as part of Stadia’s forthcoming U.I.; to be added ‘shortly after launch’.
Chromecast Ultra Update: An update will be made available ‘shortly after launch’ to enable all market Chromecast Ultra devices to be used with Google Stadia ‘shortly after launch’ and will be pre-installed on Founder’s Edition Chromecast devices until that point.
Buddy Pass: Starting 2 weeks after players receive their Stadia Founder’s Edition device, a buddy pass (3 months Stadia Pro subscription) will become available to be gifted once to another player so that they can try out the streaming service and join you.
Stadia Controller’s WiFi Feature: Stadia controller only works through WiFi with the Founder’s Edition Chromecast Ultra (and presumably other Chromecast Ultra devices which receive the patch), but works through a wired connection on PC and Smartphones. Wireless support for the Stadia Controller will be added to other devices Early 2020.
4K Streaming on Google Chrome: Stadia’s gaming streamed direct from the web browser will begin to support 4K after Early 2020.
Stadia StateShare: Create save-states to allow other players to instantly jump into the exact moment you had saved in-game. These can be shared directly and as part of YouTube’s upcoming Stadia integration some time in 2020.
Stadia CrowdPlay: Start lobbies to play games with your fans while streaming live on YouTube and allowing them to directly take part in the action – as well as automatic clip creation in 2020.
Stadia Free: Next year Google will launch a free version of Stadia which does not require any paid membership but does allow the purchase of games which are streamed in 1080P resolution at 60 frames per second and stereo sound.
Play Everywhere: Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Galaxy, Smart TV Apps, the overall Android market, and Roku devices are all expected to get support for Stadia in 2020. Upon the Stadia launch Pixel 3, Pixel 4, PC, Laptop, and Founder’s Edition Chromecast Ultra devices will be the only ones supported.
Play Anywhere: Cities with 5G Networks will be able to use Stadia without WiFi or Ethernet some time in the future, but for the time being 4G LTE signals have been deemed unsuitable for Stadia and WiFi / Ethernet is instead required.
Additional Features Coming Soon:
- Local Co-Op: TBA 2019
- Voice Chat: TBA 2020
- Built-In Video Capture: TBA
- Instant Replay: TBA
- YouTube Stadia Integration: TBA
- Built-In Gaming-Centric Google Assistant: TBA
- Cross-Platform Multiplayer: TBA
- 1080P Resolution @ 120 frames per second: TBA
- 8K Resolution: TBA
- Stadia ScreenShare: TBA