We have been testing Google Stadia for more than 2 months. Has it turned out to be a fiasco or a good move by Google?
Google Stadia, the videogames subscription service via streaming (excuse the redundancy), Google, was launched on November 19, 2019. Specifically, more than 2 months have passed ; in a few weeks the service will have been 3 months since it hit the market (not without few limitations).
Of course, this new service generated a certain hype . Playing triple AAA games without a console? Just using the Internet? For many, the simple fact of playing on a console was an imperative to make certain sacrifices, such as paying the cost of it or having to suffer a final quality in the titles lower than those of other platforms such as the PC.
Now, more than 2 months after its launch, Google Stadia is a tad abandoned by Google. A server ventured to buy nothing more and nothing less than the top version of Google Stadia: the Founder’s Edition. What has become of this service in the last 2 months? Worth?
70 days without news of Google Stadia
First, we need to shore up several details. As this Reddit post explains , Google Stadia has met 2 not very graceful records: it has been more than 40 days without new releases or important announcements, and also, it has been more than 70 days without deep-seated news. These sections are quite important, since Stadia was launched caped, with restrictions on how the service was supposed to be.
Google launched Stadia without some of the features it promised to exit. For example, the remote control, although it is wireless, needs a cable to connect to a compatible device (a computer with Chrome installed). Furthermore, the Google Assistant is not yet activated. Remember that we have a button on the remote dedicated to it, making it a more than primary function.
There is more; for now, only Pixel phones are capable of running Google Stadia on mobile (via WiFi, as data spending is unaffordable) and the 120 games that the Stadia team promised to add to their catalog have not yet been announced. These are the problems that Google Stadia suffers from more than 70 days after its launch:
- 4K resolution is not yet available if played in browser. To play this resolution (as the paid subscription promises) we will need a Chromecast Ultra.
- Features have not yet been implemented with Google Assistant.
- Nothing is yet known about its compatibility with iOS.
- Stadia will have a free subscription that will be 1080p 60 frames per second. It is not yet available, so we depend on Google Stadia Pro, which costs 9.99 euros per month.
- No features like “family sharing” or trophies.
- Few announcements.
Google responds to controversy
Google of course was not going to remain silent before this controversy. First, Google limited itself to responding to the Reddit user with a brief response, ensuring that they understood the complaints made. Later, a Google spokesperson explained to GamesIndustry that the user was wrong , as they had been posting weekly updates on the Stadia community forums.
“Of course, not all 120 titles will be announced by the Stadia team, as we let publishers make the announcement about their games, and what platforms they will appear on, just as we will with the exclusive content coming to Stadia.
There are many reasons for the timing of game announcements: from promotions or planned events, title preparation, proximity to the first playable demo, shareholder requirements, etc. We continue to work closely with our publishing and development partners and are here to support them in all areas. We’re excited to share more about some of the exclusive games coming to Stadia soon. “
These explanations seem a bit ambiguous, since the biggest data that the Google representative gives is the hope of announcing 10 games in the first half of the year. A rhythm of eyedrop releases that contrasts with all the hype provided with promises that Google itself had been feeding weeks before the launch of Stadia.
Hard rivals in sight
This will not be an analysis as such (this will come soon), but we will talk about our experience. I am a great lover of video games and precisely my experience has been marked by reluctance, since on a personal level I am very demanding when it comes to selecting the platforms I use to play according to which titles.
I have a PS4 Pro, a Nintendo Switch and a computer loaded with video games. The only platform that has not convinced me enough has been that of Microsoft: the Xbox One. It is not for less; It takes me a long time to buy a new console, since I only buy it if it assures me of a great deal of entertainment thanks to a catalog of exclusive products that is nourished and sufficient. The proposals of Sony and Nintendo respectively fulfilled this function.
So why did I get Stadia? Moreover, why I bought the exclusive Founder’s Edition package, the most expensive? First because I think that the video game by streaming will be the future (not Stadia per se ) and second because I am a big fan of technology. And Google’s proposal seduced me.
All this “sermon” is necessary to understand the same concept that I hoped would mark my experience with Stadia: stability. That this proposal did not have to envy my other 3 entertainment systems, which I acquired with great patience and care. That my experience was more typical of a consumer than that of a beta tester. And I am very afraid that we have not yet reached the first, and we have traveled part of the second.
I’ve been a guinea pig
The launch of Google Stadia will be remembered for being chaotic to say the least . To be able to start as “Founder” and start playing, I needed Google to send me a code that would allow me to register with Stadia. Part of the advantages of the exclusive package I bought was the possibility of choosing my own name on the platform, so I wanted to hurry up and take advantage of the curious VIP tag that I had earned by giving my money to Google.
The truth is that it was not. For starters, the codes took a long time to arrive. I had to contact Google support myself after seeing how they announced that the codes had arrived … except me. Once I had it, I didn’t wait any longer and turned on my Chromecast Ultra, included in the pack, the same day following the launch.
The experience was not too good, but I was understandable; It was the first days and lots of people were literally launching a service that already had very little travel. Null, to be exact. Lag, jerks, poor performance … I decided to be patient and continue testing it, being aware that this could not be considered the first real contact.
I decided to change the chip: I knew that all of us who had bought the Founder’s Edition and those of us who were giving Stadia a chance were not consumers, but beta testers. Instead of being reluctant, I launched into action and took Stadia as what it purports to be even today; I bought games on the platform (taking advantage of the Stadia Pro offers), I decided to play them often and momentarily do without my other consoles to focus on Stadia.
The thing, of course, got better. The lag caused by thousands of international players testing Stadia gave way to a much smoother and more proper experience than Google promised. Stable performance, no graphical problems … I really enjoyed playing Metro Exodus and Destiny 2 , and for several weeks Stadia was my main platform. Until I realized who Google Stadia is worth and who is not worth it.
Google Stadia worth it?
Being objective and absolutely honest, my current situation with Stadia is not encouraging. My Chromecast has not been used for a long time, and I have used the Stadia remote more on my PC with Google Chrome than on the device that brought me the Founder’s pack. And still, having the ability to play on my PC, I haven’t used Google Stadia for weeks. Why?
In essence, Google’s service is worth it. It is certainly a rudimentary prototype of what will become the norm for years to come; The streaming will console everyone and we ‘ll forget about the physical hardware, to the least in regards to entertainment video game is concerned. The problem is that Stadia arrives very soon, at a time when there is still enough for this to happen.
The answer to the question of whether Google Stadia is worth it is yes, but with 2 major main asterisks. On the one hand, Google Stadia is not worth it for people who already have established entertainment systems. These systems still have severe advantages over those offered by Stadia. In addition, Google’s proposal still has much to improve, making it even more of a product for a beta tester than for a real consumer.
Many functions and features are missing that on other platforms are taken for granted. The achievement system, the promised social integration with YouTube, the wireless functions of the controller and above all a more extensive catalog. A catalog that invites you to want to use Stadia against other rivals already established in the industry.
I will give an example. The titles that most interest me today in the catalog, if we stick to the most popular triple AAA, are Red Dead Redemption 2, Rage 2, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Exactly: all these games are available on other consoles, usually cheaper and without the drawbacks of Stadia.
While the experience on a console is usually extremely stable, at Stadia we still depend on a good connection that can sometimes fail. The graphic stability is not total either, and the quality changes depending on the amount of megabytes that reaches our device. In addition, there are functions embedded directly in the remote that we can not even use. Not to mention that since Stadia is a novice platform, I hardly have the chance to play with my friends.
Does this mean that Stadia is a fiasco? Absolutely. As long as you keep Google’s promise: to use Stadia as the only place “for all ways of playing”. We cannot blaspheme Google (very harshly) for being sparing in news, since this is literally version 1.0 of a concept that has yet to be forged. However, Google has a curious criminal history that has made it famous for loading services that had barely existed for months for not achieving the necessary success.
It is Google’s mission to strive to maintain the hype that accompanied its chaotic launch and above all to get Stadia to rub shoulders with the greats, to be the alternative for those who cannot afford a console or are not happy with its concept. For those people, if Google takes the right steps, this service can be a revolution .
So is Google Stadia worth it? The quick answer is yes. If you have other systems nearby and you don’t want to quit, not right now. And yes, even after 2 months, so now it’s Google’s turn to move. Hopefully for the better.