Google Stadia review roundup

It’s launch day for Google’s much-publicised streaming game platform, Stadia, but it’s also been a very wobbly plank walk for the tech leading up to the big day.

Springboarding off a disappointing games lineup and a Reddit session which revealed that plenty of Stadia’s key features wouldn’t be available for some time, there was panic in the air at the start of the week. Google rushed to expand its Stadia games list, perhaps hoping to soften the blow for both itself and its early adopters, but blood in the online water had already attracted some sharks, and hopes that Stadia was about to arrive fully formed as “the future of cloud gaming” were dashed for the most part.

Some reviewers have been tinkering with Stadia for a while ahead of today’s launch, and here’s what they have to say about it…

Nick Pino, Tech Radar:

“If you pay for 100Mbps internet speeds, Google Stadia will perform wonderfully and is the game-streaming service we’ve long waited for. That said, if you have a slower connection or you’re tied to a capped data plan, Stadia will still work, but it isn’t quite the ‘negative latency’ experience Google promised and chews through data quickly.”

Sean Hollister, The Verge:

“If you’re expecting it to look or work as well as a high-end gaming PC or even a high-end game console, or if you’re hoping for a killer app, you may come away disappointed. But the overarching reaction I had while playing Stadia was the same I have with half-decent headphones: I’d happily keep playing if I wasn’t already spoiled.”

Chris Plante, Polygon:

“By next year, the best thing about Stadia — letting players buy a game without all the extra costs — will likely be offered by rivals that have mastered the glamour and frills of hardware launches. While they don’t always deliver on their grandest ambitions, Sony and Microsoft both know how to deliver, at the very least, on the basics.”

Paul Tamayo, Kotaku:

“Ultimately, I’m left feeling lukewarm on Stadia. Playing in Chrome caps your resolution to 1080p, it’s not really wireless with your phone, and there are a ton of missing features that people will just have to wait for. But when it works, you do get a glimpse of what being able to play games across multiple screens can look like, and you know what? That’s pretty damn cool.”

Scott Stein, Cnet:

“Stadia isn’t delivering new games yet, it’s just trying to deliver a new way to play through streaming. One that you can already get from other providers. Until Google finds a way to loop in YouTube and develop truly unique competitive large-scale games, Stadia isn’t worth your time yet. Yes, the future is possibly wild, and you can see hints of the streaming-only cloud-based playground Stadia wants to become. But we’ll see what it shapes into over the next handful of months and check back in.”

Paul Tassi, Forbes:

“I may have been a Stadia skeptic going into this test run, but I was willing to give it a chance. But this has been a catastrophe from start to finish during my testing phase, and the problem is that even if it did work flawlessly, which it absolutely doesn’t, the entire model seemed doomed from the start. This is an enormous miss from Google, and I am really wondering what the fallout is going to be from this ill-conceived early launch.”

Alex Hern, Guardian:

“Ultimately, the only real benefit of the system is the absence of that box under the TV. If your impeccable sense of interior design values that above game selection, price, offline play or community size, go for it. Otherwise, stick with a home console if AAA games are where your heart lies, or pick up Apple Arcade to see what a revolution looks like when it focuses on the games and not the technology.”

Richard Leadbetter, Guardian:

“Netflix works because the subscription model is easy to understand – you pay extra for more screens and UHD but that’s it. Stadia is the same in terms of demanding a premium for UHD (even if key titles don’t seem to be rendering at 4K) except that you’re still paying top-end prices for your games on top of that. Combined with the feeling that the platform and the ecosystem is still some way off completion and I do feel that it’s perhaps too early for Stadia to be rolling out as a full service, especially when games are limited and the all-important platform exclusives are very thin on the ground.”

Jess Grey, Wired:

“This isn’t a service meant to supplant the Alienwares and Razers of the world. It’s never going to be as sharp and responsive as gaming on a local machine will be, and latency will always be an issue, no matter how good the technology gets—and no matter what Google says about ‘negative latency.’ Google has a lot of features to flesh out and issues to address, but Stadia lives up to at least some of its lofty ambitions. It’s positioned to bring gaming to more people on more platforms than ever before, and there’s something very exciting about that prospect.”

Wireframe #26 is out now

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