With the release of Stadia Pro, Google has been receiving its fair share of backlash and criticism. From the beginning, many techies were not confident in Stadia, and for good reason. Maybe Google was able to coerce the eager buyer, especially by its renowned brand, but those who did a bit of research certainly knew what to expect – latency issues, pseudo-high-res gaming, and the troubling fact that games had to be purchased via the Stadia store.
Stadia’s initial release issues were expected, as it carried many technical hiccups. Customers complained about latency issues as well as noticeable dips in graphical fidelity during gameplay. Stadia’s promise of power-hitting resolutions up to 4K with HDR made consumers wary of its required 35 megabits per second speed. Generally, gamers assume the minimum speed is not acceptable, thus requiring higher speeds than the mandated 35 megabits per second.
As it stands right now, Stadia has a total of 42 games. That is, 42 games available for purchase, unlike other cloud-based gaming subscriptions that provide a library of free games. Google will soon offer Stadia Base, which is a free subscription running games up to 1080p at 20-megabits or 720p at 10-megabits. The problem isn’t the price of the subscription, but rather the cost of games. The customer is buying these games strictly for Stadia at the full retail price. Rival cloud-based gaming services allow you to either play from their library, like PlayStation Now or play from your own library, like GeForce Now.
PlayStation Now is both available on PlayStation 4 and PC with a collection of over 600 games for $10 for a month, $25 for three months, and $60 for a year. However, games only run at 720p. Then there is GeForce Now, which is available on PC, Mac, and Android. It plays almost any game from your Steam, Uplay, or Battle.net catalog at 1080p for a mere $4.99 per month. GeForce Now recently wrapped up its beta, so it is now offering trial subscriptions and its paid Founder’s subscription previously mentioned.
Nvidia’s GeForce Now seems to be the ideal option. It is undoubtedly making Stadia customers shake their heads, especially at the stability and pricing of GeForce Now. Google initially pushed their $129 Premiere Edition, which covers a $69 controller that allegedly reduces latency and a $69 Chromecast Ultra – a measly $10 savings for this bundle. The only attractive offering is the ability to play games at 4K HDR; however, according to many customers, it does not compare to traditional physical hardware, especially with its latency issues and lackluster graphics.
It is quite troubling that a company so large, powerful, and “connected” is having these technical issues. Google Fiber is touted as the “best” high-speed internet available to the American consumer mainly due to its reliability, 1-gigabit speeds up and down, and its low cost, particularly in comparison to other pricey fiber-optic options like Verizon Fios. Then again, Google has had problems furthering the infrastructure of Google Fiber due to legal battles for the most part. Perhaps, Google came out too soon with cloud-based gaming. It should have focused more on its network infrastructure, then implemented Stadia. Stadia could even have been used to market Google Fiber and possibly been attached in some sort of combo subscription. However, Google expecting people to buy from their store on top of paying for a subscription seems unfair. Also, if Stadia fails, then the purchased game is gone. At least, with physical media, cloud-based catalogs, and game licenses, purchased games are, at least, much more viable.
Hopefully, Google will realize its mistakes as more and more cloud-based services are coming about through Sony, Microsoft, NVidia, and others. Their “effort” is not commendable. Consumers who want cloud-based gaming should consider using GeForce Now. It is reliable and very cheap. It also offers ray-tracing at 1080p resolution, a free 90-day introductory period, as well as a free 1-hour session without credit card registration. Don’t be fooled by Big Tech; they would be wise to start appreciating their consumers and not take them for granted.