STADIA Premiere Edition Unboxing and Gameplay
Recently Google had an offer for YouTube Premium members where you could get a Stadia Premiere Edition bundle completely free! I was lucky enough to get it and it arrived so I thought I’d unbox it, set it up and have a look at the gameplay.
For those of you who don’t know Stadia is Google’s Game streaming service which lets you play games over the internet on a variety of different devices without needing powerful hardware. You do however need an internet connection with a minimum of 10mpbs to use Stadia and a minimum or 35mbps to play in 4K. If the internet plan you’re on has a data cap then it’s worth noting before starting that playing games on Stadia is likely to use a huge amount of data.
The premiere edition gives you a ChromeCast Ultra (4K capable) & Google’s controller to connect to it. It’s not the latest ChromeCast but that strangely doesn’t support Stadia yet anyway and this is still 4K capable so no complaints here.
- Stadia Controller
- ChromeCast Ultra
The controller has both WiFi & Bluetooth so it will be interesting to see if it can be used on other devices, it also has a 3.5mm jack for headsets and a USB-C port for charging. Buttons wise it has all the standard stuff you’d expect from a controller + a Google Assistant button and a Capture button for quick image and video capture.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the ChromeCast as these things have been around for ages and the Ultra isn’t too different from the traditional model that everyone is familiar with. Games are supported up to 4K 60FPS if you have a Stadia Pro subscription or 1080p 60FPS for everyone else. One nice touch is the power adapter has an ethernet port which is definitely going to be handy for Stadia.
Gameplay Samples: NBA 2K20; Tomb Raider Definitive Edition; and PUBG. As you can see gameplay looks pretty great and I didn't really experience any lag or latency issues which is pleasing. It was particularly impressive that I could play PUBG, a multiplayer game with relative ease. One concern I suppose it the amount of data Stadia uses, I don't see that as being much of an issue in the UK but in other countries or while traveling you may run into issues with your data cap. Let's talk about how you get these games.
Stadia has a bit of a strange way of how you actually get games to play. Everyone has their own ideas, Nvidia with GeForce Now allow you to play certain games you already own on PC (through Steam, Epic Store etc), Microsoft with XCloud let you play any game that’s available for XCloud with no additional purchase requirements. Google have taken a different approach, games for Stadia need to be purchased in the Stadia store then depending on whether you have a Stadia Pro membership or not you can either play up to 1080p60 on the free tier or up to 4K60 on the Pro tier. I think there’s Pros and Cons to all 3 approaches but for me I think Microsoft’s is the best value. XCloud is included with Game Pass Ultimate so any game you stream you can also install locally to either your Xbox or PC (varies per game) so that gives you more options really. Having said that the initial outlay if you want some hardware for the TV is the cheapest on Stadia out of the 3 at £89.99 the Premiere bundle we’re looking at here is not bad to get you started.
My general thoughts about game streaming are it’s pretty good providing you have a decent broadband connection. There are some massive pros for it when compared with traditional consoles in particular the fact that you do not have to wait for the games to install and in Google’s case the hardware is much cheaper and vastly more portable. For casual gamers I believe streaming has a big future, whether that is on Stadia or something else remains to be seen!
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