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Details from the Google Stadia Connect event


Back on March 19th, Google announced Stadia, a cloud gaming service. But that was about it. Most of the questions were left unanswered.

Yesterday, they dropped some more concrete information.

Available in November, Stadia will be available to play on Chromecast Ultra, computers running Chrome, and Pixel phones (seemingly Pixel 3 and 3a and their variants). The service will cost $10/month for Stadia Pro, supporting up to 4K HDR gaming, while a 1080p max option will launch in 2020. A $129 Founder’s Edition bundle is available at launch, containing a Chromecast Ultra, three months of Stadia Pro (with a 3 month “buddy pass” to give a friend), and a wireless controller.

Support is coming from a wide variety of third parties, with the biggest hitters being Destiny 2 Collection, Doom Eternal, GRID, Baldur’s Gate 3, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Borderlands 3, and Mortal Kombat 11–among others.

Also interesting is the announcement of support for a wide variety of controllers (for mobile or desktop, via Chrome Browser), including–but not limited to the Xbox One and PS4 controllers, keyboard and mouse, as well as Google’s own solution. Having a wide controller ecosystem, especially in same-screen multiplayer titles such as Mortal Kombat, lowers the bar to adopt the service.

While input lag is certainly a concern, as well as visual fidelity, Google is maintaining that a 10Mbps connection will support 720p well. With a promise of dynamic resolution based on bandwidth, it’s still a lofty goal–but one that the company seems to have a handle on given their years of experience in content delivery.

As it stands, Stadia looks like it’ll be a firm effort to try to catch the white whale that is streaming-to-the-consumer gaming. Where this may succeed where others have fallen will lie in network infrastructure (improved vastly since the last major attempt), encoding and compression techniques (again, hugely improved), and a market that’s ready to say yes to a games-as-a-service subscription model.

Given the promise is of high end gaming independent of hardware, that’s not exactly a hard sell. We’ll see how things turn out in the fall.