Stadia, Google’s answer to Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, is not a new concept at all. Tech companies have been peddling the idea of streaming video games for years now, with prominent examples being GeForce Now from Nvidia, PlayStation Now from Sony, and Jump. The challenge has always been to provide a fluid, seamless gameplay experience and making demanding blockbuster games more accessible. The only requirement is a strong internet connection.
Google Stadia plans on disrupting the cloud gaming market by allowing players to start playing games on any device with a browser and internet connection. One minute you’re watching a YouTube trailer, the next you’re in control of the game – at least that’s how they’ve advertised it.
When it comes to the quality of streaming services, Google has set the bar very high, starting out at 4K resolutions with 60 FPS with plans to jump to 8K resolutions further down the line.
This raises an important question: does Stadia have the requisite hardware needed to stream games at such ridiculously high resolutions? Google has not shared the technical specifications for its data centers, but leaked news suggests that their GPU is based on a design from 2017, which means it will need upgrades before it could live up to the hype.
The most noteworthy feature about Google Stadia is its sheer scale of compatibility with just about any device. Be it traditional gamepads, laptops, or smartphones, you only need a subscription plan which costs $9.99 per month (less than Netflix’s $12.99). The Stadia Controller can be purchased for $69 for gamers who want a more immersive experience.
Google recommends 10 Mbps to stream games at 60 FPS 720p resolution and stereo audio. For 1080p, 5.1 surround sound, and 60 FPS, you will need 20 Mbps. For the advertised 4K 60 FPS, you’ll have to crank the internet connection up to 35 Mbps.