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Google Stadia and Everything You Need To Know

  
Google revealed lots of information today about their upcoming new video game console during the very first Google Stadia Connect that took place this morning that you can watch below.





Little information was revealed previously, and up until today we knew that the Google Stadia will be the first serious stream-only console, having no physical games. Instead, the Stadia connects to powerful Google servers that handle all the processing and hardware responsibilities- and then streams games to you as you play them. 

There were many questions, as there is with most new console announcements, and many were answered today with a few still lingering. 
While gaming's all-digital streaming future is still unknown and rabidly speculated across the internet, Google's Stadia is looking to be a big attempt at introducing the concept to the world. 

It will be very interesting to see how gamers react to this. Many gamers like myself who prefer to actually 'own' our media in physcial form, enjoy the access of the tangible, and in the case of power and net outages, or places with bad wifi- you can still enjoy most games offline. This has sparked further discussion between traditional gaming hardware and streaming technology.

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Since the initial announcement of Google Stadia, many have been wondering what kind of connection is needed to enjoy it without issues, what games it will have, what it will cost, and more- and I have that exact information for you below.

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Launching in 14 countries this November, Google Stadia will have 31 playable games from a variety of publishers. There's a Founder's Edition that costs $130 which gets you a "starter kit" to begin playing and 3 months of premium, which becomes $10 a month when it ends. 

One major detail we learned today was that this bright new budding streaming machine should not be considered the "Netflix of video games". Why? Because so far the only game announced to come with the Stadia's premium service is Destiny 2, and from Google's comments it seems that was never the intention.

They seem to be set up to offer some kind of free game or games per month deal much like PS+ and Xbox's Games with Gold. 
The rest of the Stadia's library will be games that you can stream- once you buy them for retail costs. Google has said that you should expect to purchase games on the Google Stadia like any digital storefront where you'd do so- like PlayStation Network, Steam, and Xbox Live.

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That means the general buying and subscription service isn't very different than what we have now with the present consoles' digital marketplaces, at all- besides waiting for downloads.

What you are getting with Stadia however, is what I assume to be a faster rate of being able to begin playing new games without having to wait for lengthy installs or deal with storage space, and no physical copies to display your collection. 

Also, did I mention that constant internet connection is a must


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There's always pros and cons with new hardware and experiments, and they can usually be debated forever. 

While there are many collectors who enjoy organizing, maintaining, and displaying their physical game library may snarl at the Stadia or be less welcoming to it, others like minimalists, or folks who could care less about displayed collections, and maybe some others, might be interested in this new game streaming frontier.

Here's the full lineup of studios who're on board with Stadia and their games that you can expect to play on the Google Stadia so far.
(Thanks to The Verge!) 

Bandai Namco - Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 
Bethesda - DOOM Eternal, DOOM 2016, Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: Youngblood Bungie - Destiny 2 
Capcom - TBD Coatsink - Get Packed (Stadia exclusive) 
Codemasters - GRID Deep Silver - Metro Exodus Drool - Thumper 
Electronic Arts - TBD Giants Software - Farming Simulator 19 
Larian Studios - Baldur’s Gate 3
nWay Games - Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid 
Rockstar Games - TBD 
Sega - Football Manager SNK - Samurai Shodown 
Square Enix - Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider 
2K Games - NBA 2K, Borderlands 3 
Tequila Works - Gylt (Stadia exclusive) 
Warner Bros. - Mortal Kombat 11 THQ - Darksiders Genesis 
Ubisoft - Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Trials Rising, The Crew 2 

Google has commented that this is not the entire list, and with E3 on the horizon, more will be announced next week as well as in the months leading up to the November launch. 

The Founder's package which is up for pre-order now, means more than it may seem. 
Essentially, you get a Stadia controller and a Chromecast Ultra. Combined, these two make up the starter kit I mentioned earlier, but you'll get the chance to do things like pick your username before everyone else who didn't pre-order the Stadia. Stadia's premium service, besides giving you Destiny 2 at first, also allows you to play on Google's PixelA and Pixel3 phones. 
Google has commented as well that they're looking to eventually also allow you to use the Stadia Pro service to do things like play on the Chrome browser, other devices and phones, and use a different controller. 
If you think about it or if you don't know- you're also saving a little bit of money, as the Chromecast Ultra and the Stadia controller cost about $70 a piece.

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With Stadia Pro, you're also getting a nice boost in quality. Pro members will get 5.1 Surround audio, HDR with 60fps, special offers, and you'll be able to grab what you want from their list of free games. 
If you're wondering why there isn't a flat rate of quality across all experiences with Google Stadia, its because when playing on Google Stadia with a premium membership, you're technically renting better specs from Google's servers.
Remember, this isn't really a console-console. Regular video game consoles are like small PC's that have a set amount of specs, storage, and graphics power.

Being an all-streaming console, Stadia communicates with powerful Google servers that will be actually running the games you play and streams them to you- hence the internet connection. 

As shown above, the 4K, 60 fps, HDR with 5.1 Surround audio will require a connection of at least 35mbps

A free membership will be launching in 2020, just some time after Google sees how the Stadia handles overall after the burst of initial founders experience it. 
The free membership will be capped at 1080p with stereo, requiring at least a 20mbps connection, and playing in 720p only requires a 10mbps connection.

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Quite a lot of 'big-time' developers and publishers are on board. 
Destiny 2 is in the spotlight as Stadia's most featured game and first freebie obtained with their Pro/Premium service. Stadia is working on cross-save services and so far has a partnership with Xbox on allowing you to pick right up where you left off in Destiny from Xbox One on your Google Stadia. When you subscribe you will get Destiny 2 with all of its content, including the brand new Shadowkeep expansion. 

One downside that isn't much of a surprise, and as it is with PS+ and Games with Gold, is that you must retain your subscription and maintain an account in good standing or you'll lose access to the games you recieved from the sub.

There's no details so far how Google will completely integrate Google accounts between Stadia accounts/profiles, or how getting banned or closing a Google account will effect your purchases.
One scary thought and actual problem in digital storefronts and services going on now is getting banned and losing access to every game you've ever purchased digitally. 

Another issue is what happens when publishers' contracts expire with the storefronts and pull their content- causing no one else to purchase or possibly play the games from said publisher ever again, or until a new or renewed contract is made.
None of this has been addressed just yet- its a bit early now, and may never be loudly addressed since it is a usually unpopular subject for businesses. But we'll see.

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So far exclusive first party games haven't been revealed or discussed, but Google has commented that gamers should look forward to cross-platform play, and games that have servers that can support a large number of players- bigger than the usual 100-200 player lobbies that exist in some games. 

The closest thing information we have on an exclusive-like game at this time is that the just-announced Baldur's Gate 3 will only be playable on PC and Google Stadia.



Boy, that looked painful.

The game industry is heating up with competition across the board, and its not just Sony, Microsoft, and Ninteno. 
Amazon and Verizon have expressed interest in cloud gaming technology as well. There wasn't much else revealed in this morning's Stadia Connect release which was just over half an hour long. View near the top of this post if you haven't yet. 

There's still some questions out there reguarding streaming and multi-tasking, split-screen play (breifly touched on, featuring Ghost Recon), and more- all of which I am sure will be answered either in the next 6 months or in early 2020. 

For now, that's everything you need to know on the Google Stadia.

For more gaming news and pop culture, keep running around with us. 



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