Published: Tue, November 19, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

(Update) Google Stadia pricing, subscription details and launch titles revealed

(Update) Google Stadia pricing, subscription details and launch titles revealed

Yesterday, Google announced pricing, release plans and data requirements for its Stadia streaming service.

The system, which was originally announced in March, will act like a Netflix for video games. Google says it will eventually allow people to play games directly over WiFi from any TV with Chromecast, computer with a Chrome browser, and Google Pixel phones. Though the scale of how many game titles are exclusive to one particular platform has certainly dwindled over the years, exclusives still exist.

Come November, Google Stadia's launch will resemble those of traditional game consoles. More devices are slated to be added in 2020.

One common misconception of the Stadia service is that it will be like Netflix - a subscription service where you have a catalog of games you can play for free.

The 14 launch countries include the U.S., Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Google plans to expand it to more countries next year. One option is Stadia Pro, which is a US$9.99-a-month service (3 month's free of which is included with each "FE" bundle). Google did not say how big the discounts would be.

At launch, players can play games like RPG Baldur's Gate III - which got a terrifying, Lovecraftian trailer and annoucement during the livestream - high-tech shooter Ghost Recon Breakpoint, super-creepy kid exploration game Gylt, The Division 2, and what looks like many more.

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Google states that, at the highest quality, Stadia will run games in 4K HDR at 60fps with 5.1 Surround Sound.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at financial services firm Wedbush, told CNN Business that the current game selection of 31 titles is underwhelming.

Similar streaming services have failed in the past, Pachter wrote in an analyst note. Sony's version will take advantage of Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, which means that Microsoft could potentially be host to two of the largest gaming platforms in the world. Charge $10, and the offerings will be paltry. Google says the whole package is worth about $300 but costs $130. The subscription will not grant access to all games as some will still need to be purchased. Pachter predicts that the storefront business model will be "immensely successful".

The reality is that Google Stadia won't reach its full potential at launch. This is where gamers are relying on the team at Stadia to make the right decisions in which games to seek out and which publishers to work with in hopes of bringing them into the fold. A spokesperson said original content could be available starting next year. As part of today's service announcement Google also announced how much bandwidth would be required for the service's various supported resolutions.

But its competitors are gearing up for a fight.

If some game platform makers are to be believed, streaming is the future off the industry.

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