Google Gives Update on Stadia Pricing and Availability
Announced back in March during their Pixel event, Google today finally revealed some of the key details that were missing related to its Stadia streaming game service, including pricing, availability, and a laundry list of launch titles.
The cliff notes version looks something like this: Stadia will drop in November in 14 regions across the globe, with 31 games from 21 different studios. A “Founder’s Edition” starter kit will launch for $130 and includes a special edition of the Stadia controller (which will retail for $70 on its own), a Chromecast Ultra (which currently retails for $70), and three months of the subscription service for free.
Introducing the Stadia Founder's Edition. A $300 value for just $129.
— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) June 6, 2019
When it was first announced, the comparison and quick description that everyone seemed to cobble together was that Stadia would be something like a Netflix streaming service for video games. Now that we know the details around the pricing structure for Stadia, we’ve come to learn that that analogy was only half true. During their Stadia Connect event, Google announced that the service would cost $10 per month, and, while the company hopes to eventually have a back catalog of free games that they will include with the subscription, consumers should expect to have to buy (not rent) cloud games for the same retail prices you’d find them for on other gaming platforms.
“We will sell these games like any other digital storefront,” Google’s director of games Jack Buser told The Verge.
Stadia Pro, which is this $10-per-month service that will launch at the outset, will give the user access to games at 4K/60fps and with 5.1 surround sound support, so long as they have the required 35Mbps of bandwidth to stream at that level. Google did say, during the event, that the only way users will be able to access Stadia in 2019 is by purchasing the Founder’s Edition bundle, though they plan to slowly roll out the service to a wider range of phones (it’ll only work on the Pixel 3 and 3a this year) and their Chrome web browser over time.
Additionally, a free version of the streaming service—Stadia Base—will launch last year. The main difference here will be that games only stream up to 1080p/60fps and with standard stereo sound. Also, you won’t have access to that library of free games to stream or Stadia-Pro exclusive discounts on select games.
Speaking of games, Stadia does have a strong launch lineup planned for when the service goes live in November for those early Founder’s Edition adopters. Beyond the first game to launch in the free streaming library (Destiny 2), the service will see titles from Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Rockstar Games, Sega, Square Enix, THQ, Ubisoft, and more.
With E3 just around the corner, we expect to hear a lot more news on Google Stadia. For now, though, Google left us with an up and down kind of feeling. The service and list of supporting titles does look strong, but the pricing (the Founder’s Edition is just $70 less than a new PS4 console, after all) and slow rollout leave plenty to be desired.