Everything you need to know about Google's new game streaming service

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 18 Jun 2019

Google Stadia will launch in 14 different territories in November. — dpa

Google wants to revolutionise video gaming with its a new service that lets you play from the cloud instead of on a console or PC.

Google Stadia will launch in 14 different territories in November, specifically in the United States, Canada and Europe, the company has announced.

The upfront cost of US$130 (RM542) includes the necessary hardware and three months of premium service. After that the service will cost US$10 (RM42) a month.

The idea is that players will be able to stream games from Google's servers, the prerequisite being that you have a sufficiently fast Internet connection.

A free version of Stadia is due in 2020. That will be limited to Full HD video, whereas the paid version, Stadia Pro, offers up to 4K resolution and 5.1 surround sound for a cost of US$10 a month. That also comes with additional free games.

Google recommends an Internet speed of 35MB per second for 4K images while Full HD can get by on 20MB per second. Response time is also important as commands from the game controller must be able to reach Google's servers almost immediately.

It's not clear whether from launch players will be able to livestream Stadia games on YouTube, as was announced in March when the service was first announced. However, players will be able to click on game ads on YouTube and go straight into playing the game.

Games streamed from Stadia can be played in any Chrome web browser, on the Chromecast Ultra TV dongle or Google's Pixel 3 smartphone. Other smartphones and platforms will follow over time, the company says.

For playing while on the go it'll really depend on your access to a super-fast 5G network given the data volume and response time that gaming requires.

Some analysts have been disappointed by the range of games on offer so far which consists mainly of older titles. If users want to play newer games, they'll have to buy them.

This will make it harder for Stadia to attract users, says analyst Pierce Harding-Rolls from market research firm IHS Markit. So far Google hasn't shown it can successfully compete with traditional PC and console platforms, critics say.

Analyst Michael Pachter from the financial firm Wedbush stressed that subscription services are difficult to sell without a wide range of content. "It's like having a buffet with only a chicken dish, a meat dish and a noodle dish," he told the Financial Times. "If you want to become a Netflix for games, you have to have 1,000 games on offer." – dpa
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