Google has confirmed that its Stadia games streaming service will launch in November and utilise a subscription service for accessing its library of games.
During a special stream for the announcements, it was revealed that users will be able to sign up to a $9.99 Pro subscription service, through which they'll receive regular content added to their games library.
It wasn't made clear however exactly how many games users will get at launch or how many more will be made available over time, and whether these might be limited or permanent. According to the Stadia website, users will be able to purchase games directly.
The Stadia Founder's Edition meanwhile will cost $129 and comes with a Chromecast Ultra, a three-month Stadia Pro subscription for the user and a friend, the chance to register their username early, an exclusive night blue Stadia controller and Destiny 2.
The Founder's edition will be available in Belgium, Finland, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK and US.
Google said Stadia will stream at up to 4K HDR Video at 60fps with 5.1 surround sound on a 35mbps connection for Pro subscribers. For those with slower connections, Google showed how this would affect performance in the image below.
For those that do not want to pay a subscription, there will be a free 'Stadia Base' service launching next year. This will not provide access to free games, but users will be able to purchase titles from the Stadia library. Resolution for this tier will be restricted to 1080p and stereo sound.
Games coming to Stadia are set to include Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint by Ubisoft, Larian's Baldur's Gate 3 and Gylt by Tequila Works. You can view the list of confirmed games here.
Games will be playable on TV, desktop, laptop, tablet and Pixel smartphones including Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. The service will launch on other smartphone devices at a later date.
To access the service on TV, users will need a Chromecast Ultra, while on desktop, laptops and tablets users can play Stadia games through the Chrome browser. On Pixel phones, a special Stadia app will be required.
Games can be "played best" with the official Stadia controller, other supported controllers or a keyboard and mouse.
"Platform for everyone"
Google Stadia was first revealed at GDC 2019 back in March. The company’s CEO Sundar Pichai said that it had been “building a game platform for everyone”.
The core idea behind the service is to make games more accessible across any device - Google boasts the platform can work seamlessly across desktops, laptops, TVs and phones.
Google VP and GM Phil Harrison is heading up the Stadia project. He has a high pedigree in the games industry and has been a key figure in the launch of games consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox One.
Google has also opened its own first-party development studio called Stadia Games and Entertainment. It’s being headed up by former Ubisoft and EA executive Jade Raymond.
You can check out the rest of the key players working on Stadia in PCGamesInsider.biz’s extensive roundup here.
Battle for streaming dominance
Stadia has of course been a big topic of discussion in the industry since its announcement given its potential to disrupt the status quo in the games industry - particularly the console space.
Microsoft and Sony recently signed a deal that will see the latter use the former’s Azure data centres for its cloud gaming and content streaming services, as well as working together on other areas of cloud development.
While the two companies will continue to be rivals, the deal is a sign that the world’s tech giants are preparing themselves for the battle ahead in the games streaming space.
Stadia also stands to disrupt the mobile games market, though likely to a lesser extent. Our contributing editor Jon Jordan recently looked at Google's service and compared its vision of gaming's future to Apple Arcade.