Google Stadia One Month In: It’s Nothing Like Playing on a Console — and That’s Okay
Fears that Google will abandon its game streaming service look as though they’ll go unrealized
I like the Darksiders franchise, but I don’t love it. It’s the kind of game I’d pick up if I had nothing better to do, rather than the kind I’d set aside a couple hours on the weekend to play. Which makes it perfect for Google’s game streaming platform Stadia.
Stadia launched in November to mixed reviews, to put it politely. It was missing features that Google had touted before launch, like an achievement system or even support for the Chromecast Ultra you might already have in your home, and it still lacked support for more than a handful of phones.
But after a month and a half with the streaming platform, I’ve found where it fits in my life: It’s ideal for casual gaming, where being able to play on multiple devices might matter more than getting the absolute best picture quality, and for games that don’t require the fastest reflexes. Under the best circumstances, Stadia is technically able to play fast-paced, highly detailed games, but it’s a lot better at the more easygoing, addictive games that you wish you could play anywhere.
Stadia works, and that’s unprecedented
Video games require incredibly low latency, so that when you press a button, your character acts immediately. Dropping frames isn’t just an annoyance, it can be the difference between winning and losing. Not too long ago, streaming a game seemed like a task that was just too demanding for mass-market internet connections.
Today, streaming games works. I was able to play Tomb Raider, Gylt (Stadia’s only exclusive), and the new Darksiders: Genesis all without performance hiccups on both my home internet — a high-speed gigabit service delivered over standard copper cable — as well as, briefly, on my local Starbucks’ Wi-Fi.
The latter feat was the most impressive. With an 8 Mbps download speed, my Starbucks’ Wi-Fi was below the minimum 10 Mbps that Google says is required for Stadia. Still, I was able to fire up Darksiders and play for a few minutes without interruption or lag. I didn’t…