Google Stadia is here, this is what you need to know

Google's Stadia launches today and is ready to impress with 22 games.
Image: Google

When Google announced that it was getting into the gaming world, people were left unsure of how to feel. Over the past several months, the Big Tech firm has announced more details about its upcoming cloud-based gaming service, Stadia.

As of November 19 (Tuesday) Stadia is available for everyone that purchased its $130 “Founder’s Edition” or the $10 a month Pro plan. That Founder’s package comes with a Chromecast Ultra, the Stadia Controller, and access to the service’s premium tier. Starting in 2020, players will be able to take advantage of Stadia’s free tier and can theoretically use any accessories they want. That includes controllers, like the Dualshock 4 or the Xbox Pro Controller, as well as replacing the Chromecast with a PC or even a Pixel phone.

What is Google Stadia?

Some may still be wondering what exactly Stadia is trying to be. Is it a console? Not really. Is it mobile gaming? Not really. In reality, it’s a form of cloud-based gaming that, while tried (and failed) before, has never been attempted on such a massive scale.

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In essence, Google will host a powerful collection of servers where it will host big-name titles like “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” and “Destiny 2.” Instead of having to download a game to a console, players will be able to instantly access and play it through Google’s servers. In theory, this will cut out the need for expensive hardware.

Nonetheless, Stadia gamers will still need access to a reliable, high-speed internet connection if they want to experience all that the platform has to offer. Likewise, they’ll have to purchase each title individually at full price just like any other console. That effectively kills any rumors suggesting that Stadia is “the Netflix of gaming.”

What Do I Need to Play on Stadia?

The beauty of Stadia is that gamers won’t really need much to get starting. In fact, all that’s technically needed is a computer, an Internet connection and a controller (or mouse and keyboard).

However, those that want to get a better experience with Stadia should have a computer with plenty of RAM (this is a Google application after all). Likewise, those willing to spend a little extra can get the Stadia Controller for $69. It’s somewhere in-between the Dualshock 4 and Xbox Pro Controller and delivers a great feel with quick performance.

What makes Stadia so attractive is that it can be played by almost anyone. The need for a $400 console goes away, thus removing a large barrier to entry for many potential gamers. Of course, Stadia players should temper their expectations somewhat. While games on the platform are not only playable but impressively smooth, they can’t match the quality and lag-free nature of console games.

Stadia Launch Day Game Lineup

As of November 19, Stadia has a 22 game lineup waiting for players. While many of these are older titles there are some new ones like “NBA2K20” and a Stadia-exclusive, “Gylt.” The rest of the list is rounded out like so:

  • “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey”
  • “Attack on Titan: Final Battle 2”
  • “Destiny 2: The Collection”
  • “Farming Simulator 2019”
  • “Final Fantasy XV”
  • “Grid 2019”
  • “Just Dance 2020”
  • “Kine”
  • “Metro Exodus”
  • “Mortal Kombat 11”
  • “Rage 2”
  • “Rise of the Tomb Raider”
  • “Red Dead Redemption 2”
  • “Samurai Shodown”
  • “Thumper”
  • “Tomb Raider 2013”
  • “Trials Rising”
  • “Wolfenstein: Youngblood”

More Stadia Games Coming Soon

Despite a hefty launch lineup, Stadia will have more games coming soon—many of which will debut in 2020. The service really won’t get a true test until its free-to-access tier opens up next year anyway, so the developers for these games have some extra time to prepare. Coming to Stadia in 2019-2020 is:

  • “Borderlands 3” (2019)
  • “Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2” (2019)
  • “Darksiders Genesis” (2019)
  • “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint” (2019)
  • “Doom Eternal” (2020)
  • Cyberpunk 2077” (2020)
  • “Gods and Monsters” (2020)
  • “Watch Dogs Legion” (2020)

Meanwhile, there is a long list of developers waiting to add their titles to the list beyond 2020. It’s likely that Stadia will also confirm some more titles for next year should its release be well-accepted.

Stadia is available now for players willing to pay for the Pro tier at $10 a month. Those looking to try the service for free should sit tight until early 2020. In the meantime, perhaps enjoy a free-to-play mobile title like “Call of Duty: Mobile.”