After months of waiting, sold out Founder's Editions, and purported hardware capabilities, we've finally got a release date for the Google Stadia: November 19, 2019. Stadia's official Twitter account dropped the date on October 15, along with a handy video that offers a quick guide on what Stadia actually is, for those who are aware of the hype, but unaware of precisely why the hype exists.
Back in September, pre-orders for the Founder's Edition bundles (which was initially billed as the only way to get a head start on enjoying the Stadia, giving you three free months of Stadia Pro, and an exclusive Night Blue Stadia controller) sold out across Europe and Canada, forcing Google to release an entirely different bundle. In that same month, Jack Buser, director for games at Google, told GamesRadar that the Founder's Edition would be removed from the Google Store in the EU, but replaced with a new bundle called the Premiere edition. We've got more details below.
Aside from getting your hands on the device, we know what kind of games the streaming service will offer when it drops on November 19. Google Stadia has added the long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077 to its streaming service - the upcoming RPG from CD Projekt Red will join Borderlands 3, Baldur's Gate 3, and more, in what's stacking up to be an impressive lineup of available titles.
Read on to find out everything we know regarding Google Stadia. Also, be sure to check out our in-depth interview with Google about the future of gaming with Stadia.
What exactly is Google Stadia?
In the simplest terms, Google Stadia lets you play modern games on just about any screen you own, with Google's servers handling all the processing power and beaming them to you via the cloud. There are no downloads or installations to worry about; if your device can run a Google Chrome browser, it can handle Google Stadia. When Google Stadia launches, it'll support play on your TV (using a Chromecast Ultra), desktop computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphones starting with the Pixel 3 and 3a models.
If your internet can handle it - and you pony up for the high-end subscription - Google Stadia can stream gameplay at 4K resolution with HDR and 5.1 surround sound at 60fps, all via an internet connection with at least 35 Mbps speed. And even if your internet isn't as fast as that, Google Stadia supports a wide range of internet speeds at the cost of some graphical quality (with 10 Mbps being the recommended minimum speed). You can check in advance if your platform of choice is ready for Google Stadia using Google's handy speedtest site.
This new kind of gaming platform is the result of years of work at Google, and Stadia has been tested extensively in the lead-up to launch. Late last year, Google offered a closed beta test for Project Stream, which let participants play Assassin's Creed Odyssey in their Chrome browser. At GDC 2019, Google Stadia was revealed in full, with playable demos on the show floor. During our Google Stadia hands-on preview, we were amazed at how Google has managed to eliminate the perception of latency between your inputs on a controller and the response from the game streaming in from Google's servers.
Google Stadia will release on November 19, 2019
The earliest you can access Google Stadia is November 19, 2019, but you'll need to buy a special bundle (which we'll get to the pricing of in just a second). Google Stadia will be available in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland regions first, with more territories being added in 2020 and beyond. If you don't want to buy a special Editin of the Stadia, the Stadia Base option will be available sometime in 2020.
What's the Google Stadia price, and how much will it cost?
Google Stadia is available at different price points, but to play it as early as possible, you'll need to buy the Stadia Founder's Edition for $129 / £119 with the option to pre-order it now. Good luck with that, however, as it's sold out completely in Europe and nearing the same fate in Canada and the US.
In the Founder's Edition bundle, you'll get a Chromecast Ultra for playing on your TV, a limited-edition Night Blue Stadia Controller, a three-month Stadia Pro subscription, a buddy pass that lets you gift three months of Stadia Pro to a friend, and first dibs on your Stadia Name (so you can snag your preferred handle).
A Stadia Pro subscription, priced at $9.99 / £8.99 per month, is required to stream games at 4K/60fps/HDR with 5.1 surround sound, and grants access to a growing library of games that are free for as long as your Stadia Pro subscription is active. You'll also give discounts on games for purchase, and for a limited time, Stadia Pro will include the complete Destiny 2 experience, with the base game, all previous add-ons, the new Shadowkeep expansion, and the annual pass, with the option to transfer your Guardian from other platforms (PC and Xbox are currently confirmed, while Sony is still dragging its feet on approval).
If you don't want to pay for a Stadia Pro subscription, you can still use Stadia Base, coming in 2020. It's capped at 1080p/60fps with stereo sound, and games must be purchased individually, though they're yours to keep once you buy them. You can play in a Chrome browser on any computer or on your Pixel 3 or 3a phone, with plans to expand Google Stadia to other mobile phones in the future.
What happens now that the Founder's Edition bundles are selling out?
Don't fret. The Founder's Edition bundle may have sold out in Europe and is on its way to selling out in the US and Canada, but there will be other ways to get to gaming with the Google Stadia come November.
As we mentioned above, our interview with Google's director for games, Jack Buser, ensured us that there will be other Google Stadia bundles, including the one recently announced - the Premiere Edition. The Stadia Premiere Edition will drop in November, replacing the Founder's Edition bundle entirely once its stocks dwindling to nonexistence.
The Stadia Premiere Edition comes with a Clearly White controller instead of the Night Blue Founder's Edition option, a Chromecast Ultra to cast games onto your TV, and a three month Stadia Pro subscription (the same offered in the Founder's Edition).
Now, there's no word on what will happen if (or when) the Premiere Edition bundles sell out, so if you're interested in the Google Stadia, you may want to jump on it while supplies last.
What about the Google Stadia controller?
The dedicated Stadia controller isn't required to play on Google Stadia, which supports a wide range of controllers as well as a mouse and keyboard setup. But if you want to play Stadia the way Google intended, you can buy a Google Stadia controller for $69 / £59 each. Colors currently on offer include Clearly White, Just Black, Wasabi (the clear front-runner at the moment), or the Night Blue colorway included exclusively in the Founder's Edition.
Stadia controllers use your WiFi to connect directly with whatever game is being streamed from Google's servers, with the classic dual joystick, D-pad, face button, and shoulder button layout most closely resembling the DualShock 4 controller. It also has two additional buttons which let you easily capture footage or activate the Google Assistant. Once you've got a supported controller and a screen to play on, you're all set to use Google Stadia - no console or additional wires required. Here are the full Stadia Controller specs, if you're curious:
- Wi-Fi: Dual-band (2.4GHz / 5GHz) IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac connectivity
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth Low Energy 4.2 (BLE)
- Headset jack: 3.5mm headset jack for headsets with or without a microphone
- USB: USB-C port for charging, wired gameplay, and accessories such as USB-C headsets. HID-compliant
- Weight: 268g
- Dimensions: 163mm x 105mm x 65mm
- Google Assistant: Google Assistant button to trigger microphone
- Capture button: Quick access to image and video capture
- Battery: Internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery
What is the Google Stadia games lineup looking like?
The ever-growing library of Google Stadia games is looking impressive, especially considering that you don't need a console or powerful PC to enjoy these contemporary games. And the list got even more impressive at the Stadia Connect presentation at Gamescom 2019, where they announced Cyberpunk 2077 would be playable on the streaming service. The E3 2019 announcement even threw in a handful of world-first reveals, including Baldur's Gate 3 from the studio that brought you the Divinity: Original Sin series, and Gylt, an intriguing Lovecraftian horror game from the makers of Rime. Here are all the confirmed games (as of August 19) coming to Google Stadia, with more on the way:
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey
- Attack on Titan 2
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Borderlands 3
- Darksiders Genesis
- Destiny 2: The Collection
- Destroy All Humans
- Doom Eternal
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Elder Scrolls Online
- Farming Simulator 19
- Final Fantasy 15
- Football Manager 2020
- Get Packed
- Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Just Dance 2020
- Metro Exodus
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Orcs Must Die! 3
- Rage 2
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Samurai Showdown
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- The Division 2
- Tomb Raider
- Trials Rising
- Windjammers 2
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
We'll be sure to add more Stadia games as they're confirmed, so check Google Stadia games (this list is constantly updated!)