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Google Stadia (Game Streaming, Cloud Gaming)

Started in 2019, Google Stadia set out to provide game streaming, also called cloud gaming, to users across the globe. The service was designed to be accessible via any devices that had an up-to-date version of Chrome browser or the latest version of the Stadia app. This means access to Google Stadia is available on personal computers, tablets, and Android smartphones.

Google Stadia (Game Streaming, Cloud Gaming)
Google Stadia Controller

How Google Stadia Works

Think of how any streaming – of audio or video works. Instead of downloading the media file to your device, you play the file from a remote server. With Stadia, users ave no need to download games to their devices; they simply streamed gameplay from a remote server. Some of the benefits include saving of space and processing power on terminal equipment. As such, a reliable and fast Internet connection is always required to use the service. There is no offline gaming supported.

According to Google, playing games on Stadia consumes up to 2.7GB of data per hour in 720p streaming quality (the upper limit for mobile devices). As such, the service worked only over Wi-Fi networks. Users could not use mobile data, because of reliability and cost issues. With the arrival of 5G networks, which deliver greater capacity, Google widened access to support mobile data.

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Being a cloud gaming service also opened up the opportunity for multiplayer games where multiple users play against one another. Playing of games on the service on a TV using Google Chromecast Ultra requires the use of a hardware Stadia Controller, along with an audio headset. Users are able to chat and communicate in-game. 3rd party gamepads are supported for playing on Android phones.

There are free and paid titles on the Stadia service. Subscribing to the paid service gives access to access higher streaming rates (up to 4K resolution), among other perks.

Stadia Device Support

Google Stadia arrived to criticism, especially over the limited hardware support for Android phones. At its launch, it supported only four smartphones – Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL. This greatly limited access to the service. Samsung, Asus, and Razer phones were added to the list, in 2020. Eventually, OnePlus, Apple and LG phones joined the list of supported mobile devices. This is in addition to being available via Smart TVs.

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Games Library

Another criticism that Google Stadia faced had to do with the limited game titles available to users of the service. In April 2020, the platform got a boost with the announcement of games from EA (Electronic Arts), one of the world’s leading mobile game developers. EA Titles such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order would be available to Stadia users. Another big name that supported Stadia was Ubisoft.

Hundreds of games were available to Google Stadia users. Some of the most popular available games include:

    • Cyberpunk 2077
    • Destiny 2
    • FIFA 22
    • Red Dead Redepmtion 2
    • Baldur’s Gate 3 (Early Access)
    • Resident Evil Village.
    • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
    • Hitman 3.
    • Little Nightmares 2.
    • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sunset for Google Stadia

Stadia continued to struggle, and in early 2022, rumours made the rounds that it would be shut down. Google tried to douse the fire with a statement saying, “Stadia is not shutting down. Rest assured we’re always working on bringing more great games to the platform and Stadia Pro. Let us know if you have other questions.”[1] However, barely two months later, in a September 29, 2022 statement[2], Google announced that the service had not gained traction and would be shut down Stadia in January 2023, bringing the service’s run to an end.

References

    • Google says they are not shutting down Stadia [source]
    • Google announces shutdown of Stadia [source]
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