I have occasionally described myself as a technophile, due to my tendency to enjoy reading about, buying, playing with, and testing out the latest technology.
For years I was in the Google ecosystem. Name a hardware device, and I probably had it. And even though I am no longer as heavily vested in that world, I still pay attention to new products. And therefore, when Google Stadia was announced (nearly a year ago at this point), I quickly signed up, and purchased a Founder’s Edition kit (1 Chromecast Ultra + 2 controllers). I received it last November, but I’ve honestly only played with it a total of… 2-3 hours since then.
Until today. I decided to set up everything, charge the controllers, and see how things were looking after nearly 8 months of development. And you know what? It’s not bad! Most of my testing today has been 2-player “versus” battles in Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid (against another human sitting next to me). And it performed at least as well as an Xbox or Playstation does, in my experience. Gameplay and loading was essentially flawless. The graphics looked decent (mid-tier gaming PC level, I would say). And… there’s not much else to say! It just worked. No installations. Very little setup.
Now, yes, you do need a Stadia subscription currently, which I think is like $10 USD/month. But they’ve also been giving subscribers 2-3 games to add to their library a month, so for the ability to play literally anywhere with a good internet connection… it’s kind of a steal, in my opinion.
Do I still maintain a gaming PC? Yes. Will I get rid of it anytime soon? Probably not. But I do think that Stadia and similar services are the future of gaming. Being able to play a whole list of games with only a controller (or your browser + mouse/keyboard) is amazing, and for the average consumer, it opens up a whole host of new games to play without requiring a high-end gaming machine.
Some closing thoughts: doesn’t it bother me that this is from Google? Yes. I don’t like their privacy-invasive tendencies. However, I also only have this connected to my network when I’m gaming. When I’m not, it’s disconnected. And what about if they kill it off? So far I’ve only invested in the initial hardware plus the aforementioned monthly subscription. I’m not yet comfortable purchasing any additional games through it, since they’re locked to the Stadia service. If there were some kind of sync between my Steam library and Stadia, I’d be a lot more likely to make such a purchase.
In short, if you are into gaming (especially if you’re on Linux), and don’t have a high-end gaming rig already, check it out! I’ve tinkered with Stadia using Google Chrome, and it also worked extremely well. And even if you do have a gaming rig, I’d still recommend glancing at Stadia. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Final note: You do need a good internet connection for Stadia. I’ve had good success with anything higher than 50 Mbps. At 100 Mbps+, no issues whatsoever. But to perform well, you’ll need that connection. Hopefully companies figure out a better solution for lower-end connections in the future.
I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload (Day 70/100). You can join in yourself by visiting https://100DaysToOffload.com.