Before Google rolled out Google Stadia on 19 November 2019, initial impressions from beta testers were positive. The cloud gaming service exceeded the expectations of most reviewers and some thought that it could become a strong competitor of other similar service providers such as Xbox Cloud Gaming and PlayStation Now, as well as Amazon Luna.
The fact that it is also based on cloud computing makes it a viable alternative to PC and traditional console gaming. However, its initial release received mixed reviews due to performance issues and level of quality. The service later improved in the subsequent months and years. This article reviews the pros and cons of Google Stadia.
Pros of Google Stadia: Features and Advantages
Cloud gaming services are convenient. They allow users to play video games without buying an actual console or gaming-centered personal computers. However, the quality of the service from a particular provider depends on the capabilities of its infrastructure.
Google has positioned Stadia as a better cloud gaming service because it takes advantage of the existing Google data centers around the world. Of course, Amazon can readily make a similar claim with its Amazon Luna because of its Amazon Web Services infrastructure.
Below are the specific features, advantages, and reasons why you should subscribe to this cloud gaming service from Google:
• Dependable Cloud Gaming Service: To reiterate, one of the advantages of Google Stadia is its existing network infrastructure. Google has built and maintained multiple data centers across the world for its internet-related services, thus enabling it to reach more people. In cloud gaming, gamers closer to a particular data center can stream games with zero to minimal network lag and latency.
• Technical Specifications and Features: Google noted that its cloud gaming service allows its gamers to stream games powered by an AMD Radeon CPU clocked at 2.7GHz and a GPU with 10.7 teraflops of power, as well as 16GB of RAM and 484GB/s transfer speed. It supports game engines such as Unity and Unreal and it can stream games at high-dynamic range and 4K resolution at frames per second.
• Multiple-Platform Accessibility: Another advantage of Google Stadia is that the service is accessible and games are playable in different desktop operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and ChromeOS; mobile operating systems such as Android, iOS, and iPadOS; and different web browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari. Gamers can easily switch an ongoing game from one device or platform to another.
• Large and Expanding Game Library: The game titles available for this cloud gaming service have numbered more than 200. The entire catalog includes top-rated and AAA games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, PUBG: Battlegrounds, and NBA 2K21. The selection of game genres ranges from action, adventure, and hack and slash, to role-playing, fighting, and racing, among others.
• Flexible Service Plans and Costs: Note that this game service follows a freemium model. Subscription is generally free. However, playing games on TVs would cost around USD 79.99 for the entire Stadia Premier Edition which includes the Stadia Controller and Google Chromecast. Gamers can then purchase game titles individually. There is also a subscription option for USD 9.99 per month.
Cons of Google Stadia: Issues and Limitations
Note that cloud gaming services are not perfect. When it comes to achieving a stable video gaming experience, nothing beats PC gaming and console gaming. Of course, PC gaming remains at the top of the entire gaming hierarchy because it offers a more graphically immersive gaming experience that remains unrivaled even by top-tier game consoles.
Google Stadia suffers from the same drawbacks, as well as a specific set of issues and limitations that range from the drawbacks of its game library to connectivity requirements. Furthermore, it is also worth mentioning that the intensity of competition in the video game market and the specific cloud gaming market segment poses a threat to the survivability of this service.
Below are the specific issues, disadvantages, and reasons why you should not subscribe to this cloud gaming service from Google:
• Requires Fast and Stable Connection: Similar to other cloud gaming services, a major disadvantage of Google Stadia is its dependence on internet connection. This connection should not only be available but also fast and stable. The service uses a ton of data and lags can be experienced on medium-level of connections.
• A Note on Wireless Network Data: Furthermore, because this service consumes a ton of data, users should be aware of their data consumption, especially if they are subscribed to metered internet service. This fact makes cloud gaming services unideal for limited mobile data plans even via sub-6 GHz or mmWave 5G networks.
• Other Cloud Gaming Services: Another drawback is the availability of cloud gaming services with larger and subjectively better game libraries for the same subscription cost. Note Xbox Game Pass Library has about 258 cloud-based game titles while the catalog of PlayStation Now has over 800 games. Both cost USD 9.99.
• A Note on Free Game Titles: In addition, aside from the fact that the library is a little bit behind the libraries of mainstream cloud gaming service providers, the list of free games is somewhat uninspiring and lackluster. These free games might be likened to mobile games or the casual games available on Apple Arcade.
Verdict on Google Stadia: The Good and The Bad
Subscribing to the service costs USD 9.99 and this gives users access to pro-level services and features, including discounts on selected game titles and free access to a growing list of game titles. The subscription fee is twice more expensive as Apple Arcade but remains at par with Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation Now, and Amazon Luna.
Overall, considering the aforementioned advantages of Google Stadia, it is undeniably one of the best cloud gaming services out there. The future of this particular service is promising. However, for it to survive in the intensive video game market and attract and sustain customers, Google needs to add more titles to its game library.