My experience with the Google Stadia

s-l400

So a couple of months ago, I got caught up in the hype surrounding the Google Stadia. The promise of playing 4k games on any of my devices was too alluring. They were promising a ton of games at launch, too, but it wasn’t really clear about how much the games would cost. So I signed up and sort of forgot about it.

2 weekends ago, my credit card gets hit with a charge for about $130 from Google play. No explanation. I assume that it’s a fraudulent charge, so I contacted my bank and and Google. A couple days later, I see news stories about the release of the Stadia, and it all makes sense. I call off the fraud dogs, and await my new gaming device. I don’t think that I was part of the first run of shipments, or even the second or third. I read stories online about people getting theirs, and the things they are saying don’t sound too encouraging. Mostly that the promise of a high def experience wasn’t exactly true, and that the number of games available wasn’t what was promised. Since I don’t have a 4k display, I wasn’t all that upset about the graphics, but I was disappointed about the number of games. But I figured that that would eventually work itself out.

The day comes when my Stadia arrived. It was easy enough to set up. I freed an HDMI port on my TV (sorry Roku) and plugged in the Google dongle thing. Configuration was fairly painless, but I’ve had intermittent issues with the controller actually being able to connect with the internet, despite the Fios connection that I have.

As a “Founder,” I was given free access to two games – Destiny 2 and Samurai Showdown. Neither of these games really appeal to me. But that’s ok, because the Bungie servers were down the day I set up the Stadia, probably due to the sudden influx of all of the other new Stadia players, so I couldn’t play it even if I wanted to. (I have since been able to connect and confirm that it’s not for me.)

As for the other games available, I was sort of shocked at how few there were, and how expensive they were. $100 to play Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition. And I wouldn’t actually own the game. I’d just have access to it. There’s only a small handful of games available. I ended up dropping $10 on a Lara Croft game from 2012.

The controller works fine, when I can get it to connect, and it feels good in the hands, and the controls seem responsive.

I guess the long and short of it is that Google may have rushed their product out in time for the holidays, but not quite ready. I am hoping that more diverse games become available in time, but at this point, I’m sorry that I fell for the hype. I should have known better.

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That controller doesn’t look great either.
Can it use other ones?

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I don’t think so. But really, it’s a pretty good controller. As good as any other I’ve used.

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I really like my xbone controller. Though I mostly use it for Pinball Arcade.

I refuse to believe stadia can even remotely match the gameplay experience I get on a PC when playing in any kind of PVP.

I can’t speak about that. I have nothing to compare it to. The game is played on servers in data centers, so I would imagine that latency is low for the servers but it’s probably equalized by the latency of the screen information sent to the player.

Single player type stuff wouldn’t be badly affected by transmission latency. Push comes to shove, they can pause the game between inputs from you to calibrate.

But if it’s something like, say, Mortal Kombat, or CS-GO anyone playing with a local client is going to have a major advantage over using the Stadia infrastructure.

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I think this ability, along with basically the remaining 90% of promised functionality (sharing games, the free tier, mobile apps, achievements, etc.) is still “coming soon”.

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