Google began its Pixel 4 event this morning by announcing that its Google Stadia on-demand cloud gaming service will launch on Nov. 19. Google initially announced Stadia in 2019. What sets Stadia apart from current cloud gaming services, though, is its versatility: Stadia will work on a variety of platforms, including desktop PCs, laptops, TVs and smartphones.
More importantly, Stadia isn't a console, but a service, a data center that will stream games directly to users' platforms of choice. It will even allow users to switch gaming devices mid-game, with no loss of streaming quality. Of course, Stadia only works as long as a user has reliable Wi-Fi or mobile data, and it will require a lot of it. But what Stadia offers beyond typical console gaming is no restrictions on hardware, as all games will play on all Stadia-enabled devices. Google previously released a long list of games available on Stadia at launch, and that list included some pretty big titles, including Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Borderlands 3, and Metro Exodus.
But the question of when Google Stadia will launch had been murky up until today. Google announced that Stadia will begin arriving on Nov. 19. Those who pre-ordered Stadia and have their Founder's Editions will be able to buy and play games on their devices as early as 9 a.m. PST on that date. Those with the Founder's Edition or Premiere Edition will get three months of Stadia Pro, which gives players access to Destiny 2: The Collection. These editions also include the Chromecast Ultra and Stadia Controller, which will provide players with the ability to game in up to 4K HDR on their TVs. Gamers can check for devices that support Stadia at stadia.com. Google also released a new video explaining what Stadia is and what it does:
Those who pre-ordered either edition will receive their Stadia packages in the order they were received. Those packages will include a code to activate the Stadia account, as well as Stadia Pro. The free version of Google Stadia is still not expected to launch until 2020, but that version is limited to 1080p resolution. A Stadio Pro subscription will run around $10 per month, but subscribers will still also have to pay for games.
Google Stadia will serve as an exciting experiment in just how interested gamers might be in cloud gaming. However, it's more likely that Stadia will appeal to a more casual group of players, those who don't want to invest a lot of money in consoles or expensive PCs. As with any new service, though, there are bound to be some hiccups at launch (especially considering there is no beta testing period), so those looking to try it out might want to wait and see if Stadia can do what it promises.