Look, I get that this is primarily a PlayStation publication, but I just had to get this off my chest. People are hating on Google Stadia, and that annoys me. No, it doesn’t annoy me to see people hating on Stadia. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinions, obviously. The thing that annoys me, is the fact that people are hating on Stadia for absolutely ridiculous reasons. So here, let’s talk about it, and let me explain what Stadia actually is, and how the vast majority of the people hating on Stadia are wrong and misinformed.
So, just what is Google Stadia?
Stadia is a new cloud gaming service provided by Google. It’s essentially a high powered virtual game console without the console, where instead of downloading the games individually to your local device, you stream them over an internet connection.
Stadia is expensive!
No, it really isn’t. I know a lot of people (journalists, YouTubers, etc) are trying to portray Stadia as being this expensive thing, but the fact is, Stadia’s significantly less expensive than the base PS4. If you have practically any device with a screen, that device is transformed into a virtual console that’s significantly more powerful than the PS4 Pro. In fact, Stadia (10.7 teraflops) is actually more powerful than both the PS4 Pro (4.2 teraflops) and the Xbox One X (6.0 teraflops) combined! And better yet, Stadia will just keep getting more powerful as time goes on, and new technologies are developed. And you know how much Stadia costs?
Stadia is entirely free, and supports up to a 1080p resolution, with every single game running at 60 frames per second. If you don’t have a computer of any kind, you can also buy a Chromecast Ultra to play on your TV. (Chromecast Ultra is $70)
But say you have a 4K display, such as a 4KTV? Stadia Pro is available for $10 per month, which supercharges your virtual console to support 4K ultra high definition resolutions with every game running at a constant 60 frames per second. Not even the Xbox One X can do that, and that’s a $500 console.
Oh, and multiplayer is free. There are no monthly or yearly fees to play with your friends.
You need super fast internet, which nobody has!
According to a report by Speedtest.net, the average internet download speed in America is 96.25 Mbps. Stadia Pro (the 4K version) recommends 35 Mbps, with Stadia Base (the free 1080p version) recommending 20 Mbps. That means your average American internet user has at least double the required speed on average, and can stream games at the highest resolution and frame rate Stadia has to offer.
Yes, some people are going to have slower internet, and won’t be able to use Stadia. However, the average internet user in America has more than enough speed to use Stadia at its highest tier.
The latency! Oh noes, the latency must be horrible!
For those of you unfamiliar, latency is the amount of time it takes for a button press to translate to an in-game action. The less latency there is, the more responsive your game will be.
According to Eurogamer, Stadia has an identical latency to that of the Xbox One X, with it potentially being better depending on the game you’re playing, and your network conditions. However, because Stadia isn’t actually going to be out until this November, we can only speculate on how fast (or slow) Stadia’s latency actually is. But based on what we know so far, Google Stadia is on-par with the consoles, but not quite as responsive as a high end PC.
Of course, latency also depends greatly on where you live, and how close you are to a Stadia datacenter. The closer you are, the less latency there will be. Thankfully, Google’s a giant in the world wide web, so they have quite a few datacenters to spare. Odds are, you’re close to one.
What about data caps?
This is actually a legitimate concern, at least in America. If you have an internet connection with a monthly data cap, going over that cap could cost you a pretty penny or two. Depends on your internet service provider, as well as the area you live in. Google’s official response is essentially “ISPs will adapt”, which may or may not be true. To be honest, there’s no real solution to this particular problem, as it’s not a Stadia problem. It’s a problem with American Internet Service Providers.
You don’t own the games! I REPEAT! YOU DON’T OWN EM!
That’s correct, though you also don’t own any game you buy online. What you’re actually buying is a license to play the game indefinitely. This license can be revoked at any time, such as if your account gets banned, or if the service that sold you the license were to shut down, or for no damn reason at all.
Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, Origin, Uplay, Stadia. If you’re buying it digitally, you don’t own the game. It’s just that simple, and while yes, this is a worthy concern to have, it’s not something that should be associated with Stadia as some big and exclusive negative. Because once again, you don’t own your games on any modern platform, either. Stadia’s no different.
If my internet goes down, I can no longer play my games!
Welcome to the world of DRM, and modern gaming. This is true for a lot of other services, albeit to a lesser extent. But yes, ultimately, if you lose connection to the internet, you can no longer access Stadia. Nor can you access Google. Or YouTube. Or this very website.
The point is, if your internet goes down, everything that’s reliant on the internet goes down with it. That includes games with always-online DRM checks, or digital storefronts on PC like Epic Games Store. You’ll even lose access to your downloaded PS4 games if you didn’t previously activate your console as your primary console.
Losing access to the games you love sucks, but it’s hardly an exclusive problem just with Stadia. Though, you’re right; Stadia and other internet-only services are obviously more impacted by the lack of, you know, the internet.
I can’t mod my games on Stadia! That sucks!
You can’t mod your games on PS4 or Xbox either, unless the developer chooses to let you. Same goes for Stadia. Remember, Stadia isn’t a “PC marketplace” it’s a “virtual cloud game console”, and just like with non-virtual game consoles, you can’t use mods on Stadia.
Just because you can play Stadia games on nearly any device, including your computer, doesn’t mean that the games you’re playing are computer games. They are console games. Stadia is a console in the cloud. It has all of the same limitations and advantages as a typical home console.
If Stadia gets shut down, I lose all my games!
If Steam is ever shut down, you will lose all of your games. If Origin is ever shut down, you will lose all of your games. If PlayStation Network is ever shut down, you will lose all of your games. If Xbox Live is ever shut down, you will lose all of your games. If Stadia is ever shut down, you will lose all of your games.
See a trend forming here?
Also, I’m aware that Steam has a “if we go down we’ll give you your game library somehow” clause, just in case they ever do go bankrupt or something. There’s no reason Google can’t do the same thing.
I have to buy my games again if I want to play them on Stadia!
If you buy a game on the PS4 and want to play it on your Xbox One, you need to buy the game again on the Xbox One.
If you buy a game on Origin and you want to play it on Uplay, you need to buy the game again on Uplay.
If you buy a game on Steam and you want to play it on GOG, you need to buy it again on GOG.*
Why would Stadia be any different?
* GOG Connect lets you transfer select games from Steam over to GOG during a timed promotional period.
Look, I get it. Stadia’s a new technology, and it’s promising to deliver a lot. That doesn’t mean we should all just go ahead and lie about it, right? Yes, games are full price on Stadia, because why shouldn’t they be? No, Stadia isn’t like Netflix, because why should it be? There are so many widespread misconceptions, lies, and falsehoods, it’s honestly baffling to me. Reporters from major news publications, large YouTubers, and your average gamer that believes their lies and misconceptions.
Now, I don’t want to believe that people are purposely spreading false information due to some hidden agenda. I want to believe that it’s just a matter of basic misunderstanding of what Stadia is. So, for those of you that think Stadia is a rival to Steam? It isn’t.
Stadia is a virtual game console powered by the internet. It’s a competitor to the traditional consoles, not to Steam, or PC gaming as a whole. It’s a console without a console. So please, internet. I beg of you. Stop spreading misinformation about Stadia. It’s at point where it’s no longer funny, and only mildly amusing.
Also for those of you wondering why there’s a Google Stadia article on a twenty year old PlayStation publication? Well, like I said at the top of the article, I really needed to get this off my chest. I absolutely hate it when people spread false information, and I needed to write about it, and try to set some things straight. So that’s what I did. Don’t worry, you’re unlikely to see too many Stadia articles in the future, since most of our focus is on the PlayStation 5.