Google Stadia is finally here, letting you play AAA games on just about any device that can connect to the internet, from your smartphone to your smart TV. But is it truly a game changer, or another cloud-gaming gimmick?
Here's everything we know about Google Stadia so far, including its price, release date, game lineup and more. And if you're wondering if you should take the plunge, be sure to also check out our Google Stadia review for an in-depth verdict on Google's new gaming platform.
Google Stadia release date: when is it coming out?
Stadia is available now in the US, UK, Europe and Canada for the first wave of folks who pre-ordered the $129 Founder's Edition package. If you were late to pre-order or purchased the newer Premiere Edition, you should get Stadia within the first two weeks of launch.
Don't want to shell out for a $129 bundle? Stadia will roll out more widely to laptops, tablets, Pixel phones and smart TVs in early 2020.
Google Stadia price: how much will it cost?
The core Stadia experience will be available as part of Stadia Pro, which is a $9.99 per month subscription service that gets you a growing library of games at the service’s highest streaming quality (4K/60 fps/HDR). A Stadia Pro subscription also provides exclusive discounts to game purchases. It’s not totally clear which games will require a separate purchase and which will be part of Stadia Pro, but Google has confirmed that Destiny 2 is part of the membership.
If you’re looking to go all out, you can pick up the $129 Stadia Founder’s Edition, which includes a special Night Blue Stadia Controller ($69 separately), a Google Chromecast Ultra ($69 separately), 3 months of Stadia Pro and a 3-month buddy pass for giving Pro access to a friend.
The Founder's Edition has sold out as of October 2019, but you can get most of its contents in the $129 Stadia Premiere Edition. This package gets you a Chromecast Ultra, a Clearly White controller and 3 months of Stadia Pro. You just won't get Founder's perks such as a Founder's Badge on your account, early access to a Stadia username of your choice and the ability to gift Stadia Pro to a friend.
Don’t want to subscribe to anything? You can wait for Stadia Base to arrive in 2020, which will allow you to simply buy the games you want to play a la carte.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Stadia’s Phil Harrison said that he doesn’t expect Stadia to be cheaper to run than other consoles, as you’ll still have to buy the games on top of your subscription or free version. The additional cost is justified by the ability to play in more varied locations thanks to Stadia’s streaming abilities, he said.
Google Stadia games: what you can play at launch and beyond
A slew of notable games are coming to Stadia at launch and beyond, from big AAA titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs; Legion to smaller indies such as Gylt and Get Packed.
Google will also be making its own games for Stadia via Stadia Games & Entertainment, headed up by game development veteran Jade Raymond. In October 2019, Raymond announced in a blog post that the first Stadia studio is coming to Montreal.
Stadia will launch with a total of 22 games on Nov. 19, with an additional 14 titles coming out before the end of 2019. Here's what Google originally announced would be available to play on day one, plus the extra games it announced the day before launch:
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Destiny 2: The Collection
- Just Dance 2020
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- SAMURAI SHODOWN
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
- Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
- Attack on Titan: Final Battle 2
- Farming Simulator 2019
- Final Fantasy XV
- Football Manager 2020
- Grid 2019
- Metro Exodus
- NBA 2K20
- Rage 2
- Trials Rising
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
And here's every key game we know about that's coming to Stadia eventually:
- Baldur’s Gate III
- Borderlands 3
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Darksiders: Genesis
- The Division 2
- Doom Eternal
- Dragonball Xenoverse 2
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Get Packed
- Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Marvel's Avengers
- Orcs Must Die 3
- Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Windjammers 2
At E3 2019, Ubisoft announced that its new Uplay+ service, which grants access to 100-plus games for a $15 monthly fee, will work with Google Stadia. No word yet on whether there will be a bundle deal for getting both services together, or if you have to pay for them separately.
Google Stadia platforms: where can I play?
Google Stadia streams games from the cloud, so you can theoretically play big-budget titles on a smartphone, budget laptop, smart TV or any other device that connect to the internet. The service saves your progress across platforms, so you can, say, start your Assassin’s Creed session on your phone and pick it back up on your PC later.
Google Stadia specs and required internet speeds
Google Stadia’s data centers are powered by a custom AMD GPU, which sports 10.7 teraflops of GPU power — that's a whole lot more than the Xbox One X (6.0) and PS4 Pro (4.2). All of these specs allow the service to support gameplay at up to 4K at 60 frames per second, complete with bells and whistles like HDR and surround sound.
Here are the recommended internet speeds you’ll need in order to enjoy different levels of gameplay quality on Stadia, according to Google. You can test your internet speeds to see if you're Stadia-ready right here.
- 35 MBps: 4K, 60 frames per second, HDR 5.1 surround sound
- 20 MBps: 1080p, 60 fps, HDR, 5.1 surround sound
- 10 Mbps: 720p, 60 fps, stereo sound
Keep in mind that while Stadia will run on Pixel phones -- including the new Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, the service will be limited to Wi-Fi use at launch. In an interview with The Vergecast, Osterloh said that Google's gaming platform will be limited to Wi-Fi to start, meaning folks hoping to play some Doom on 4G while traveling will be out of luck.
While your performance will vary based on your home internet speeds, Google is hoping that Stadia will eventually outperform even the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Scarlett. Speaking to Edge Magazine, Stadia VP of engineering claims that Google's AI will allow the streaming platform to be more responsive than local hardware.
This may be achieved in part thanks to what Google calls "negative latency," in which Google's AI will predict what inputs the player may perform in order to remove any lag between the player's actions and what's happening on-screen. It's an ambitious idea, and one we'll have to see in action to believe, but if any company's AI can achieve such a feat, it's probably Google's.
Stadia Controller and supported gamepads
While Stadia will work with your existing devices and a variety of supported controllers, Google is also launching its own peripheral: the $69 Stadia Controller. Sporting a familiar Xbox-style layout, the controller connects to the cloud via Wi-Fi to ensure responsive gameplay no matter which device you're playing on. The gamepad sports both a capture button for sharing gameplay, as well as a Google Assistant button that lets you ask for gameplay tips without having to close your game and look up a walk-through.
The controller will be available in three colors: Wasabi, Clearly White and Just Black, with an additional Night Blue variant available exclusively to Founder's Edition buyers.
The Stadia Controller does have one catch: it'll only work wirelessly with the Chromecast Ultra at launch. In order to use the Stadia Controller with other devices, such as PCs and phones, you'll need to connect via USB-C. No word yet on when wireless support will roll out more widely.
If you don’t want to splurge for the Stadia Controller, the service will work with most popular USB gamepads, such as the Xbox One controller and Logitech F310. You'll also be able to use a mouse and keyboard.
Google Stadia features: Crowd Play and State Share
Google Stadia isn’t just meant to provide an easy way for anyone to play big-budget games -- it’s also meant to connect gamers and creators. With the Crowd Play feature, you'll be able to click a button right on a YouTube stream and immediately start playing with that broadcaster. Think you can beat your favorite broadcaster at NBA 2K? This is your chance to jump right in and do it — so long as the streamer allows it, of course.
And because the platform saves every aspect of your game state to the cloud, you can, say, challenge your audience (or just a friend) to pick up from a specific spot in your play session and try to outperform you using the State Share feature.