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by M.G. Siegler


Google’s Stadia Cloud Gaming Service

Sean Hollister on the key details about the new service, including what it will cost — at least for early adopters: $129 for a starter kit, plus $10/month (there will be a free tier option in 2020):

Of course, you don’t need to drop the initial $130 or $10 a month on Stadia if you’re willing to wait until 2020, and you don’t necessarily need to buy into Google-branded hardware at all if you’re willing to wait. It's coming to more Android phones, and when I ask if we can expect the service to eventually hit Apple TVs, Rokus, maybe even iOS devices, Doronichev says the goal is to go as broad as possible: “We want to be everywhere.” He says there’s no particular spec another Android phone would need to support Stadia, merely certification to ensure it’s a good experience. (You won't need to re-pair the Stadia controller over and over to each supported device, by the way - it's a Wi-Fi device that communicates directly with Stadia's servers so you can swap platforms easily.)

I’m fairly skeptical of this initial attempt (as I would be into any first foray into gaming — though the initial impressions seem promising) but the high-level details are nothing if not interesting. A world in which the controller and not the console is the main hub makes a ton of sense (in the cloud context, at least).


Over time, Buser says we should not only see additional exclusive games on Stadia, but also cross-platform games doing things on Stadia “that would be impossible to do on a console or PC.” Instead of dividing up virtual worlds into tiny "shards" where only 100 or 150 players can occupy the same space at a time because of the limitations of individual servers, he says Google’s internal network can support living, breathing virtual worlds filled with thousands of simultaneous players.

Beyond the superior distribution model, this seems key: leveraging the cloud capabilities to do things that the “pure play” consoles/systems can’t match.


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