Back in March, Google revealed the first details about its long-rumored video game streaming service, Stadia, but there were important details left out. How much would it cost? What games can you play? Will there be a subscription service? When is it coming out? Oh, and hey, does it actually work?
The last question remains to be seen—we still haven’t touched Stadia—but Google answered a bunch of others during a livestream this morning.
Stadia arrives in November (exact date is up in the air), and the "Stadia Pro" subscription costs $10 per month. Games will stream at 4K resolution with HDR and 60 frames-per-second, on par with high-end gaming PCs. A subscription doesn’t grant access to every game, though; it appears to be mostly a back catalog. If you want newer games, they’ll have to be individually purchased. Sometime in 2020, however, there will be a free tier delivered at 1080p resolution.
Stadia will require an Internet connection capable of pulling 10mbps down and 1mbps up to hit 720p resolution, Google says. This is likely to be unacceptable to gamers accustomed to 1080p resolution. At this point, though, we have to take Google at their word regarding performance; there’s plenty of reason to think a lot of people aren’t going to be capable of using Stadia. A beta test has been promised at some point, which will hopefully give us a better sense of how Stadia performs in the real world, not in Google’s PR-friendly conditions.
Here’s what Google is promising:
Google has also put together a Stadia “founder’s edition” for $130, which comes with a Chromecast Ultra, a Stadia controller, a three-month subscription, a copy of Destiny 2, and the ability to gift a three-month subscription to a friend. (You’ll be able to bring over your existing Destiny 2 saves from the Xbox One and PC versions of Destiny 2. Not yet PlayStation 4, which the stream noted was “pending approval” from Sony.)
To underscore this important point: to use Stadia this year you will need to both purchase a founder's edition and pay for the subscription.
With this package, you’ll be able to stream games to your PC, TV, and laptop, but on phones, it’s exclusive to the Pixel 3. It’ll come to others later, the company said.
Some big game announcements came alongside this news, including confirmation Divinity: Original Sin developer is making Baldur’s Gate III. The original Baldur’s Gate came out in 2000! (If there’s any worry, the press release for the game also mentions PC. Not exclusive.)
As for games, it was a mixture of old and new. There was a trailer for Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the publisher’s upcoming four-player co-op game. In the Stadia version, you’ll apparently be able to watch the screens of the people you’re playing with at the same time.
Tequila Works (Rime, The Sexy Brutale) showed off a new horror game starring a young kid on the run, Gylt, which is apparently exclusive to Stadia:
The first look at the upcoming Destiny 2 expansion, Shadowkeep:
Other games coming to Stadia: Doom, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the last three Tomb Raider games (Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider), Rage 2, Mortal Kombat 11, Power Rangers, Just Dance, Trials Rising, Final Fantasy XV, Football Manager 2020, Farm Simulator, Thumper, Metro Exodus, Borderlands 3, The Division 2, Darksiders Genesis, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Samurai Showdown, The Elder Scrolls Online, NBA 2K, Get Packed, GRID, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, The Crew 2.
Stadia will not have a meaningful presence at E3 next week, though it won’t be surprising to see the platform’s logo show up in a number of game announcements.