On March 19, 2019, Google came with big news. During the Game Developers Conference, the tech giant announced its own streaming service for games. Google Stages should not only compete with classic consoles, but also be an affordable alternative to pricey game PCs. The streaming service is now entering the next phase and is ready to transform the game landscape. Here you can read everything you need to know about Google Stages.
Google Stages release
The Google Stadia release is on November 19, 2019. The streaming service launches on that day in fourteen countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium. Stadia will go live here in the Benelux from 5 pm. The only way to then be able to use the service is through the Founder’s Edition or Premiere Edition.
Google Stages Premiere Edition (and Founder’s Edition)
Do you want to get started with Google Stages as an early adapter? Then you must have the Founder’s Edition or Premiere Edition. Both editions include a Chromecast Ultra, Stadia controller and a three-month Stadia Pro subscription. With a Founder’s Edition you also get a night blue instead of a white controller and an extra trial subscription for friends. However, the Founder’s Edition is sold out. There is no further difference in the price: both editions cost 129 euros (with free shipping costs).
Google Stages price
To be able to use Google Stages, you need a basic subscription. Pro is the paid version of Google Stages and costs 9.99 euros per month. That subscription currently supports a resolution of up to 4K, frame rate of up to 60 FPS and 5.1 surround sound. In addition, you get access to free games just like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. At the launch it is Destiny 2: The Collection. You also claim exclusive discounts. Note: Stadia Pro is not a Netflix for games . So you have to purchase games separately.
In addition, there is a free subscription, but it has some limitations. Stages Base supports a resolution of up to 1080p, frame rate of up to 60 FPS and stereo sound. With that version you also have no access to free games and you are not entitled to extra discounts.
Do you want to play on your TV with Google Stages? Then the Chromecast Ultra and Stadia controller are a requirement. Both hardware can be purchased separately, but you are more economical when you purchase the Premiere Edition of 129 euros. Do you prefer to play via your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone? Then the Chromecast Ultra and Stadia controller are not a requirement. Just to be sure, check the official Google Stadium website if your device supports the streaming service.
Google Stages specs
Stages work entirely from the cloud, so you do not need specialized hardware for gaming. Your current TV, PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone is sufficient according to Google (check the official Google Stages website which they are exactly). All the calculations are done in the cloud. As long as you have a device with a 4K screen, it is therefore possible to play your games in such a resolution. All games are also playable at 60 frames per second. In the future, Google even wants to make it possible to play games with an 8K resolution at 120 frames per second.
Previous services such as PlayStation Now and OnLive also promised a smooth streaming service, but the users of those services often encountered frustrating lag. Google already has an edge in that regard. After all, the company today has data centers in more than 200 countries that can be used to offer a lag-free experience.
For those data centers, Google has developed specialized GPUs together with AMD to support Stages. According to Google, they have a power of 10.7 teraflops, which is more than the power of the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X combined. That GPU is further supported with a 2.7 GHz x86 CPU and 16 GB RAM. A GPU is provided for each game session, but for demanding games it is also possible to use multiple GPUs.
To be able to play games, an internet connection of 10 Mbps is a minimum requirement. This makes the games playable at a resolution of 720p, a frame rate of 60 fps and with stereo sound. Do you want to play with specifications such as HDR video, 1080p and 5.1 surround? Then you best have a 20 Mbps internet connection. For 4K gaming, the bandwidth must be at least 35 Mbps.
Google Stages games
As mentioned earlier, Google Stadia does not give you access to a large library of games. With a Pro subscription you do get a free game every month, but you also purchase them separately.
During the reveal of the streaming service, Stadia CEO Phil Harrison revealed an overview of developers that Google is currently working with. Those are not the least names, because they include EA, Ubisoft, Capcom, Rockstar, id Software and Square Enix.
However, stages do not only get third party games. Google has recently also established its own studio called Stadia Games & Entertainment. It is headed by Jade Raymond. She now has more than twenty years of experience in the gaming industry and previously worked for EA and Ubisoft, among others. Nothing is yet known about possible titles from that new studio, but more will follow soon too.
Twelve games are available with the Google Stadium release:
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Destiny 2: The Collection
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Samurai Showdown
- Just Dance 2020
Later in the year, Google is expanding this number with fourteen games. For example, in 2019 you can get started with Borderlands 3, Final Fantasy 15, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Grid and Metro Exodus. For 2020, Doom Eternal, Watch Dogs Legion and Cyberpunk 2077 have been announced so far.
Google Stages integration
Stages offers users ‘one service for all forms of gaming’. This makes it possible to switch between different platforms in a fraction of a second, and to continue playing your game on your PC, TV, smartphone or tablet. It is even possible to play multiplayer games cross-platform with your friends on different devices. To make switching between different devices as simple as possible, Google has also developed its own controller that is connected to your Wi-Fi network.
In addition, Stadia also offers interaction with other Google services such as YouTube. For example, it is possible to watch a trailer on YouTube for a new game, and to access that game with the push of a button. Another functionality of Stadia is Crowd Play. This makes it easier to play certain games together with your favorite streamer.
Finally, Google Stadia also introduces State Share. That is a kind of interchangeable save file. You can not only use the file to play the same game on different platforms, but also to let your friends relive a great moment from one of your games. Several developers are currently even working on games in which State Share is an important part of the gameplay.
Google Stages controller
The Google Stadium controller was also announced during the Game Developers Conference . That distinguishes itself from other controllers by a direct connection to the data centers of Google via your wifi network. According to Google, this not only ensures a fast and lag-free connection, but also makes it possible to connect the controller to your smartphone or tablet without any problems and to continue your game session on those devices immediately.
In addition to the standard buttons on a controller, the Google Stadium controller also offers a few new features. The ‘capture’ button makes it possible to record images of your session and immediately share them with your friends via YouTube. Via the Google Assistant button you can look up online tips and walkthroughs for your game.
Do you want to follow all Google Stadium updates closely? Keep an eye on this page, because here you will find everything you need to know about Google Stages!