At its Made by Google event this morning, Google announced that the Stadia streaming gaming service will roll out to preorder customers on November 19.
That specific date further clarifies a vaguer “November” launch window that was announced back in June. In a blog post accompanying the on-stage announcement, Google further clarified that the service would go live at 9am PST (12pm EST, 5pm BST) on that day.
How it works
As previously discussed, the only players who will be able to access Stadia on that launch day are those who spend $129 to pre-purchase the Stadia Founder’s Edition package (or the substantially similar Premiere Edition that was announced later). Those packages come with a Wi-Fi Stadia Controller, a Chromecast Ultra for TV streaming, three months of Stadia Pro, and a streamable copy of Destiny 2.
After that first three months, Stadia Pro will cost $10 a month on top of any individual game purchases. For that price, users get access to one free game per month and the highest-tier streaming with 4K resolution, HDR color, and 5.1 surround sound. Google promises a free streaming tier will be available sometime next year, with stereo sound and support for streams up to 1080p.
If you’re still confused, Google also has a new “How It Works” video explaining that Stadia is “kind of like streaming music or TV shows, with high quality video games.” That video also clarifies that mobile access at launch will be limited to the Pixel 3 and 3a family of phones and Chrome OS tablets (including Pixel Slate, Acer Chromebook Tab 10, and HP Chromebook X2). At launch, the Google Stadia controller will only work wirelessly when playing via Chromecast Ultra on a TV (the controller can be connected to a phone or computer via USB cable as well). Stadia will also be playable on any computer with a Chrome browser and will support generic USB controllers (including keyboards and mice) in that scenario.
Google originally announced a list of 31 games that would support Stadia earlier this year, the vast majority of which are previous releases that should be ready for Stadia’s November 19 launch. Since then, the list of supported software has slowly expanded to include games like the recently announced Red Dead Redemption 2 PC port and Orcs Must Die 3, which will be a timed Stadia exclusive when it launches in March 2020.
Sports Interactive has said the Stadia version of the next Football Manager will be “the fastest way to experience” the series, thanks to the parallel processing power offered by Google’s cloud data centers. That’s the first concrete sign of a suggestion Google’s Phil Harrison made in April that sharing data across multiple Stadia data center CPUs would allow for things like “distributed physics” and “complex multiplayer going from hundreds to tens of thousands in a very sophisticated world.”
At the Made by Google event, chief Rick Osterloh sold Stadia as part of Google’s “ambient computing vision,” which promises that “throughout your home, technology works as a single system rather than a bunch of devices doing one thing.” To that end, Osterloh says Stadia is “aiming to deliver the best games ever made to just about any screen in your life.”
Listing image by Google