E3 2019: Google Stadia Connect

Google-Stadia-Header-02.jpg

Welcome to another year of E3. Over the next two weeks, I am going to be releasing a bunch of blogs on a bunch of E3 news, starting with the press conferences. How the press conference blogs are going to work is that I am going to talk about my thoughts on the matter before going into the press conference, rank the games announced and talk about announcements made, then wrap it up with some final thoughts. There will be blogs on other aspects of E3, but for now it is pretty much all press conferences. So, let’s get started.

A couple of months back, Google announced they are going to launch a streaming service called Stadia after a test with streaming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. For E3, Google put out a video announcing a few games for the platform and going into some more detail on the platform. Before I get into anything else, note that I don’t know what was talked about at the last Stadia event and everything I heard from this recent video will be considered new.

From day one until now, I have been skeptical of streaming games. I think it is a great idea, and I think it will be a viable option in the future, but as of now I don’t think the tech is there. The only experience I have with streaming games is PS Now, and it wasn’t great. Input lag, frame rate issues, and more plague the PS Now, and it sounds like it plagues other streaming services too. With Stadia, I am still skeptical, but less so than other streaming services. If anyone can pull off streaming, it would be Google, but early reports with Stadia sound like it falls into the same issues as others. Still, I am always willing to try it out and see for myself.

StadiaSplash.jpg

Announcements

The first announcement they made talks about what internet speeds will deliver what. There are four different “tiers” of internet connection speeds they mentioned, with the lowest at 10 Mbps and the highest at 35 Mbps. At 10 MB, you get 720p resolution at 60 fps, and at 35 MB you get 4k resolution, 60 fps with HDR, and 5.1 surround sound. These numbers sound too good to be true, and I think a bigger issue that should be talked about is connection stability, but if these numbers are true then I think Stadia could have a chance.

Different internet speeds and what they will offer.

Different internet speeds and what they will offer.

The next thing they talked about are controllers, showing off the Stadia controller as well as stating any controller as well as a keyboard and mouse will work. The Stadia controller includes a game capture button and a button to access Google Assistant, and will cost $70. I know there have been some negative talk about the controller back in March, but I think the controller looks fine. $70 is a pretty ridiculous price, but other controllers are at that price as well, and any controller can be used, which makes up for it.

The next two announcements go hand-in-hand: Stadia Pro and the Founder’s Edition. Stadia Pro is a subscription service that will cost $10 per month, and includes some benefits. These benefits include the ability to stream games at 4k resolution (compared to the base experience that goes up to 1080p), access to a selection of free games, discounts on purchases, and limited time access to all of Destiny 2. This coincides with the announcement of the Founder’s Edition. While the service will be open to all by 2020, people can gain access to the service as early as November of this year through the Founder’s Edition, which costs $130. For that price, you get a Chromecast Ultra, controller, three months of Stadia Pro as well as an additional three month pass to give to someone else, and first dibs on names. If none of it is appealing, the option to wait until 2020 and use the streaming service as a normal digital storefront is also available. Personally, I think Pro doesn’t sound promising, because it sounds like the subscription service doesn’t offer a whole lot of games, and locking the highest resolution behind a paywall is a bit of a scam in my mind. The Founder’s Edition on the other hand sounds like a good purchase for those extremely interested in Stadia. A $70 controller, 3 months of Stadia Pro, and Chromecast Ultra for $130 isn’t half bad. Fortunately for me, I am interested in neither, and the only way I will be willing to check this service out (other than for free) is by buying games directly, which is an option that is offered.

Baldurs-Gate-3.jpg

Games

Not a lot of game announcements were made in this video, but there are still some things to talk about. Before getting into the rank, I will start with talking about the end of the stream, which is a highlight reel of games that will be on the platform. The titles of all of the games went by too quickly to catch all of them, but the majority of the titles look like recent triple-A titles. Some of the titles I catched include Rage 2, Metro Exodus, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Doom Eternal, Crew 2, Wolfenstein Youngblood, Mortal Kombat 11, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and more. This isn’t part of my rank, but are still worth mentioning. Now onto the rank.

I am interested in seeing what games are going to be on the platform.

I am interested in seeing what games are going to be on the platform.

4. Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

I put this at the end of the list because it has already been announced. Considering the game is going to pretty much be like Wildlands and all of the stuff worth announcing with this game was already shown, the only new info here is that it is going to be on Stadia. The only reason it is even on this list is because it got to play its entire trailer compared to the highlight reel at the end.

3. Get Packed

Get Packed is a party multiplayer game about packing up people’s stuff while dealing with wonky physics. The game looks like good couch co-op fun, but I think there are other games that occupy that genre, and party multiplayer games don’t really last like other games do. Still, this looks like a fun game that can get a party riled out.

2. Gylt

Gylt is a third-person horror game about playing as a girl living in a nightmare world. Even though I haven’t played it, this game instantly reminded me of a third-person Little Nightmares. I’m not the biggest fan of horror games, but I think the setting and gameplay look interesting enough to be worth checking out.

Oh the (school) horror.

Oh the (school) horror.

1. Baulder’s Gate 3

Baulder’s Gate 3 is a RPG in the Baulder’s Gate universe that seems like it will play similarly to Divinity: Original Sin. I have very little experience with that realm of games, but I know that people have been waiting for this game, and I have heard nothing but great things about Divinity. Considering nothing else announced in this connect was all that exciting for me, having a game like this announced is at least something.

google-stadia-price-launch-info-to-be-announced-at-stadia-co_s6hm.jpg

In Conclusion

By the end of the video, my thoughts on Stadia weren’t that much higher. My thoughts on the ideas of a perfect streaming service and how great it could be came to mind, but I don’t think Stadia is that service. While I think there are some promising aspects to it like a decent lineup and solid internet speed-to-frame-rate ratios, I don’t think anything presented sold me on this platform. On top of that, a recent article talking about data usage with Stadia made me lose any shred of hope I had left for the platform, with the platform using up to 15 GB of data per hour. The platform will be first available to Founder’s Edition purchasers in November.