We review the first 12 months of Google Stadia on the market. This has been the first foray of the American giant in the game via streaming.
On November 19, 2019, we witnessed Google’s first firm commitment to materialize the traditional video game through the cloud service. In these last blows of 2020 it may even seem normal to have these types of opportunities at hand. PlayStation Now has been around for years; Project xCloud landed in our country in full confinement, and GeForce Now did the same after the launch of its final version.
But the path of all of them has been smoother than the American giant has lived. Google Stadia did not have the best start, nor did it have a first few weeks that proved to be a firm option to unseat the home video game. 12 months that, in short, have given us the potential of a technology that has yet to be learned at all levels, including its business model.
It was not easy
What was Google Stadia? Was it the expected Netflix of the video game? The months before its launch generated a sea of doubts. Its product manager, Andrey Doronichev, was in charge of being precise months before its launch: “To be clear, Stadia Pro is not ‘Netflix for video games’, as some people have mentioned. A closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus. Pro subscribers get 4K / HDR streaming, 5.1 sound, exclusive discounts, and access to some free games. About one free game per month, more or less. Starting with Destiny 2, ”he commented on a Reddit AMA.
That battery of features was what we expected on November 19. The reality is that many of them stayed on the road until “soon”. No 4k resolution, no HDR, no achievements and no Google Assistant. It gave the feeling that Stadia came as a premium early access, yes. Not to mention the peculiarities of using it in another Chromecast that was not the model linked to the founder and Premiere packages. They came later with a dropper.
The impressions in a closed environment collided with those published in its first weeks. The international verdict was not the most encouraging, like Gamespot’s: “The future is still future.” Google assured many things during the previous months, such as that Stadia’s multiplayer would be superior to that of consoles, or that the platform would be faster and have less input lag than a console or a PC. None of that has materialized in 12 months. Therefore, users had the feeling that promises had been broken, such as the example of Red Dead Redemption 2, which was far from the promised 2160p at 60 frames per second: 1440p rescaled to 4K and 30 fps.
Google asked for patience. “We went ahead by announcing our vision, which is ambitious, but it will take time to get to that point,” Doronichev said again last February. “It’s cool, that’s what counts, right? They are not simply marginal improvements, they are not a specific feature. It is a great declaration of intent in the direction we want to go. We are heading towards it with great confidence ”. Nobody knows what the future will bring us, but it was (and is) far from the image that the company wanted to achieve.
Games, Pro mode and exclusive
The introductory offer in terms of catalog was scarce. Full-price games that we didn’t know how they would perform in our situation. The refund policy was (and is) friendly, as it allowed to return a title that had been played for less than 2 hours within 14 calendar days of purchase.
The appeal of Google Stadia for those with a traditional console was the muscle of its catalog. Among the platform’s exclusives we can find Gylt, from the Spanish studio Tequila Works. Perhaps the most powerful of those that we can only find on the platform. Beyond that, it is difficult to choose the version of Stadia over a version for the rest of the platforms.
The reasons are clear: performance and visual quality. Stadia offers the versatility of being able to play anywhere, whether with a laptop or in the palm of your hand via smartphone. Although Android users have been able to enjoy it all this time, the company is working on an option to be able to play on iOS devices; It will not be through the App Store.
Cyberpunk 2077 is coming to Google Stadia at launch.
The Pro subscription allows you to receive an assortment of monthly games at no additional cost, just as it works on other services such as PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold. Once you redeem it, it will be in your library as long as you are a Pro member. In these months we have received names like PUBG, Sniper Elite 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Celeste, Dead by Deadlight and The Turing Test, among many others. The number of independent titles can be a way to take the step and discover other projects.
Currently the stability of the broadcast has improved, but the quality of the image is compressed, not to mention that we always depend on our network being stable. It still does not replace the traditional video game. If you’re still curious, Google is currently offering a promotion when you pre-order Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia. By doing so, you will receive a free Stadia Premiere pack, which includes the controller and a Chromecast Ultra. You can opt for it while supplies last (it is unknown how many there are).