Google much-trumpeted game streaming service, Stadia, will be arriving this November. However, it'll cost £119 to get involved at launch, with the free Stadia service not expected until some time next year.
Those hoping to get involved on launch day this November will only be able to do so by purchasing Google's £119/$129.99 USD Founder's Edition bundle. This includes the Chromecast Ultra hardware for 4K and HDR streaming, a limited-edition Night Blue controller, a three-month subscription to Stadia Pro (which we'll get to in a moment), a three-month Stadia Pro subscription for a friend (known as a Buddy Pass), and first dibs on a Stadia name.
A Stadia Pro subscription (which will cost £8.99/$9.99 USD a month once those initial three months expire) is the only way to stream games at 4K/60fps with HDR and 5.1 surround sound – a feat that will require download speeds of around 35 megabits per second.
There are additional benefits to a Pro account, however; it'll offer access to some currently undisclosed free games to be added 'regularly', exclusive discounts on games for purchase (which is how you'll be acquiring the bulk of your Stadia library), plus there's a limited-time offer of access to the "full Destiny 2 experience". This includes the base game, all previous add-ons, the upcoming Shadowkeep expansion, and the annual pass.
Starting at some point in 2020, those that don't wish to subscribe to Stadia Pro can instead opt (or downgrade to) the free Stadia Base service. This enables streaming of up to 1080p/60fps with stereo sound (supposedly requiring download speeds of around 10 megabits per second), and enables purchased games to be played via a Chrome browser on any computer, or a Pixel 3 or 3a device. Google support for more devices will be added "over time". All these features, incidentally, are also included as part of Stadia Pro.
As for those all-important games, Stadia will have a library of over 30 titles for purchase at launch, with more set to be revealed over the coming months. There are big-name titles from major publishers; there are smaller independent offerings; there games currently only announced for Stadia – such as Rime developer Tequila Works' Gylt – and freshly revealed titles including THQ Nordic's Darksiders Genesis and Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3.
Here's the full launch line-up, as revealed so far:
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Borderlands 3
- The Crew 2
- Darksiders Genesis
- Destiny 2
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
- Doom 2016
- Doom Eternal
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Farming Simulator 19
- Final Fantasy XV
- Football Manager
- Get Packed (by developer Coatsink)
- Gylt (by developer Tequila Works)
- Just Dance
- Metro Exodus
- Mortal Kombat 11
- NBA 2K
- Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
- Rage 2
- Samurai Shodown
- Tom Clancy's The Division 2
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
- Trials Rising
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
- Unannounced titles from Capcom, EA, and Rockstar are also promised.
Probably the last thing of note concerns the Stadia controller. This utilise Wi-Fi to connect directly to your game of choice running in the data center, and feature a USB-C port for charging cables or compatible headsets, a 3.5mm headset jack, plus quick access buttons for image capture and Google Assistant. Three colours will be made available for purchase alongside the Founder's-Edition-exclusive Midnight Blue variant – Just Black, Clearly White, and Wasabi – each costing £59/$69 USD. Full tech specs can be found on the Stadia site, and Google notes that mouse and keyboard or supported HID-compliant controllers will also work.
At launch, Stadia will be available in 14 countries through the Founder's Edition (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland), with more regions being added starting next year. Pre-orders, should you be sufficiently interested after all that, open today.