Google’s plans to enter the gaming market are now etched in pen.
The tech giant unveiled a number of details on the Google Stadia, a game streaming device that it hopes can become a contender to established home consoles like the Playstation and Xbox. With E3 fast approaching, Google hosted a live stream and revealed the price, packages, and release date of the Stadia.
The Stadia will have a number of different ways to opt-in, depending on the preferred platform. The Stadia controller which functions as a client for use with mobile devices and Chromecast-enabled televisions will carry a retail price of $70.
Games purchased through Google will be available in 1080p with a sufficient internet connection, but this can be upgraded to 4K/60p with a subscription to Stadia Pro, which carries a monthly price of $9.99. In addition to the increased quality, the Stadia Pro service will carry a game vault service similar to Netflix.
There is also a limited-time Founders Edition bundle which contains a Stadia controller, a Chromecast Ultra, three months of Stadia Pro, Destiny 2, and early access to the service. An exact release date for the public was not revealed, but the Founder’s Edition bundle will launch in November.
Games available for the Stadia at launch include Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Doom Eternal, Borderlands 3, and many more. Game prices were not announced.
Google Stadia is a bold attempt to enter the gaming market by the conglomerate.
In theory, the Stadia would allow gamers to have access to all major releases without the need for a console or a powerful PC. Google works around that technical limitation by running the games on-demand with hardware at its headquarters and streaming the audio and video to the player. The gameplay is streamed through the controller, which can be used to seamlessly switch between different screens.
The Stadia carries a significantly lower price tag than a modern home console and the ability to stream games could require less long-term investment than regularly upgrading a PC or purchasing a new console every five to seven years.
That said, there are a slew of hurdles Google will have to overcome to make this work.
Streaming games has been attempted on a number of occasions with mixed results. Quality is beholden to having a strong internet connection and even then, there can be significant input delay that makes it impossible to play games that have tight execution windows.
There is a chance that gamers will have to wait to play as services like PlayStation Now essentially run on warehouses of repurposed consoles that can only service so many players at a time. Finally, game streaming makes mods functionally difficult for PC gamers.
Google is better equipped to handle these issues than almost any other tech company in the world, but they will have to avoid a number of pitfalls in order to make Stadia work.