I was invited to Google recently get my sexy hands on the Google Stadia. I’ll be honest I don’t know much about this latest entry into the console wars and I wonder, is it too little too late for Google?
I have to say it’s a reasonably attractive looking piece of kit. There’s a fine bit of weight to it so I never worried about breaking it. I may be the only person in the world who cares about weight in their controllers but I’ll die on that hill.
The Google Stadia itself is quite nifty and simple to handle. The only issues were that several key features were not available to me at the time of getting my hands on it. For example, the capture button was not active so no opportunities to test out the share feature.
The transition from television to mobile device was seamless and I have to say that mobile feature was my favourite part. The biggest issue with that is the range of devices available to utilise the Google Stadia and my Samsung A50 is not available as one as of yet which is surprising and somewhat frustrating. There is also the issue that the attachment, the lovingly dubbed “claw”, is sold separately. Meaning that the Google Stadia is not €130.00 it’s likely closer to €160.00.
There is also the fact that a second controller is €69.00 and you’ll need a Buddy Pass to fully utilise which you only get in the Founder’s Edition of the Stadia (which is sold out in Ireland), the Premiere Edition doesn’t actually come with a Buddy Pass which is a shame.
The various versions of Google Stadia
Stadia Premiere Edition – €129.00 includes
● Clearly White controller
● Chromecast Ultra
● Three-month Stadia Pro subscription
Stadia Pro – €9.99/Month (included in Premiere & Founder’s Edition)
● Up to 4K/60fps/HDR with 5.1 surround sound
● Free games (access available as long as Stadia Pro subscription is active)
● Exclusive discounts on games for purchase
● **limited-time only, Stadia Pro grants you access to Samurai Shodown and the Destiny 2 experience, which includes the base game, all previous add-ons, the new Shadowkeep expansion, and the annual pass. You will be able to transfer your Guardian from other platforms (currently PC and Xbox). And also Samurai Shodown
● Includes all Stadia Base benefits
Stadia Base (available in 2020)
● Up to 1080p/60fps with stereo sound
● Buy and keep the games you want
● Play in a Chrome browser on any computer or on your Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4 phone (expanding to other phones over time)
Hands-on with some familiar faces
So I started the experience with Mortal Kombat 11 showing off my fatal skills and there was no noticeable lag. It ran smooth and I thought the graphics were exceptional. The games on offer were Red Dead Redemption 2, Mortal Kombat 11, KINE, and the Google Stadia exclusive GYLT which were all what I expected. They were games and I could play them and I enjoyed them.
As part of the roster that is available at launch it’s a reasonably decent group. You’ve some AAA titles and one exclusive to the Google Stadia itself. I did wonder why Google didn’t try and bring in a AAA company to make an exclusive game for the Stadia. Something big, something bold, something that fully utilsed that unique features of this new console.
Publishers/Titles coming to Stadia (announced as of November 11, 2019)
● Bandai Namco – Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
● Bethesda – DOOM 2016, Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: Youngblood
● Bungie – Destiny 2, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Expansion
● CD PROJEKT RED - Cyberpunk 2077
● Chump Squad – KINE
● Coatsink – Get Packed
● Codemasters – GRID
● Dotemu – Windjammers 2
● Deep Silver – Metro Exodus
● Drool – Thumper
● Electronic Arts *
● Giants Software -Farming Simulator 19
● Larian Studios – Baldur’s Gate 3
● nWay Games – Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
● Omega Force – Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle
● Pandemic Studios – Destroy All Humans!
● Robot Entertainment – Orcs Must Die! 3
● Rockstar – Red Dead Redemption 2
● Sega – Football Manager
● SNK – Samurai Shodown
● Square Enix – Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Marvel’s Avengers
● SUPERHOT - SUPERHOT
● 2K – NBA 2K20, Borderlands 3
● Tequila Works – GYLT
● Warner Bros – Mortal Kombat 11
● THQ – Darksiders Genesis
● Ubisoft – Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Trials Rising, The Crew 2, Watch Dogs: Legion
*Publisher to announce content at their discretion
All these games and all I’ve said will give you an idea but there are tech-heads out there and they’ll love to know all the itty bitty details, so here they are, enjoy:
Stadia Controller – Technical Specs:
● Wi-Fi: Dual-band (2.4GHz / 5GHz) IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac connectivity
● Bluetooth: Bluetooth Low Energy 4.2 (BLE)
● Headset jack: 3.5mm headset jack for headsets with or without a microphone
● USB: USB-C port for charging, wired gameplay, and accessories such as USB-C headsets. HID-compliant
● Weight: 268g
● Dimensions: 163mm x 105mm x 65mm
● Google Assistant: Google Assistant button to trigger microphone
● Capture button: Quick access to image and video capture
● Battery: Internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery
Chromecast Utra – Technical Specs:
● Dimensions: 2.29in (58.20 mm) x 0.53 in (13.70 mm) x 2.29 in (58.20 mm)
● WeightDevice: 1.6 oz (47 g), Adapter: 3.5 oz (101 g)
● Resolution: Supports all resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD and high dynamic range (HDR) for stunning picture quality
● Wireless: 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz) 1×2 MISO Wi-Fi for high-performance streaming
● Power: Power supply required and included
● Ports & Connectors: HDMI plugs directly into the TV Micro-USB for power and data Ethernet port on the power adapter for hard-to-reach Wi-Fi spots in your home
● Supported Operating Systems: Android 4.2 and higher iOS 9.1 and higher macOS X 10.9 and higher Windows 7 and higher
● Requirements: TV with an HDMI port Wi-Fi network or Ethernet Wi-Fi – enabled supported device
There is then the question of the speed requirements and this may put off a lot of people. The Stadia will require at least 10 Mbit/s for 720p 60 FPS Stereo, and 35 Mbit/s for 4K HDR Video 60 FPS 5.1 Surround.
Stepping away from the Stadia
Ultimately I come down on the Stadia with an unapologetic smile. It is a decent entry into the console wars. It has promise and could potentially in a year or two become something really impressive. There are features here that properly utilised could bring some new elements to the world of gaming. I just feel that there shouldn’t be any reviews out of the Google Stadia because what has come out today is an unfinished product that is not ready to face the unforgiving world we live in today.
It’s a valiant effort but that’s all it is in the end. Would I buy it? No, but I’m not the demographic for it and I’m not sure who is.
Stay tuned to GamEir, and if you’re interested, converse with us on Twitter (@gam_eir), Facebook (@GamEir), and Instagram (@GamEir). Check out our videos on Twitch (GamEir) and YouTube (GamEir) and we’ll give you all the latest content.