Google reveals Stadia pricing, release window, and games – including Elder Scrolls Online and Baldur’s Gate 3

Elder Scrolls Online appears to be the top MMORPG on the platform too.

    
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Back in March (which somehow feels like a hundred years ago?), Google announced Google Stadia – not a console but a platform that will run even the most graphics-intense PC games from Google’s data center to an existing device without much lag time. The idea, as we wrote at the time, is to “reduce the friction” of gaming by allowing people to play pretty much any game on any device, from phones to browser, no matter how low-end, allowing gamers to begin playing almost immediately with “no download, no patch, no update, and no install.”

During its presentation today, Google provided a mix of game announcements of titles coming to the platform and attempted to counter some of the skepticism about whether it can actually deliver quality content at speed outside large cities. Notably for our audience, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Division 2, The Crew 2, and Borderlands 3 are on the shortlist of games that’ll be available through Stadia.

The company also announced pricing: It’s charging $9.99 per month for Stadia Pro, or you can just use Stadia Base for free by buying individual games as they come along. But of course there are specialty controllers, plus a $129 founder’s edition version that’ll come with a Chromecast Ultra, a limited edition controller, and three months of sub time for you and a buddy, early name selection, and the “complete Destiny 2 experience” including Shadowkeep as previously leaked. Preorders for the founder’s edition are open now, though Google warns they’re open for a limited time and in limited quantities because FOMO.

Stadia launches in November.

The stream is over now but watchable here:

It’s not an MMO, but the RPG fans reading will want to peek:

Source: Google

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Ken from Chicago

Because Google can be crap at advertising its own services, once again, they buried the lede:

Stadia lets you play console games–without a console or waiting.

Everyone, including Google, focused on the Pro version to get the 4k streaming or the Founder’s Pack to get their game console and early access.

Overlooked was base version of Stadia. All you need is an internet connection of 10mbps (which you can get with DSL in rural areas; I know because that’s how I’m connected online) to get 1080p streaming and you pay for the game–which you can play in UNDER 5 minutes.

Compare that to having to shell out for console and then having to wait–to pick up the game from a store or have it shipped to you or wait for several hours for it to download–AND wait another several hours for the Day-1 patch. And if you want to play multi-player with friends, you have to pay $10/month subscription.

That’s for ONE game. What happens if you want a second game? You buy it on Stadia and play it within 5 minutes, not wait several hours more for it get it and/or for it to be Day-1 patched.

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Denice J. Cook

Go Larian! They’re Divine. :) And they’re not playing the “exclusively on X platform” game, either. They rock.

Stadia….meh. Too much bandwidth and cost when I don’t usually play the same game cross-platform anyway, and I already have new-gen consoles and a kickin’ PC, sorry.

Baldur’s Gate 3, though: Bring it on!

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Robert Mann

Internet in the U.S., outside a few tiny areas, is trash. Until that changes, this has not future with those requirements.

Peter Murphy
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Peter Murphy

Although I’m curious about this, I’ll have to pass. Comcast limits me to 1024gb of downloads a month. My family nearly hits that some months already just through game downloads, working from home, and Netflix/Amazon streaming. A few months of significant overages and I could have just bought a new console instead.

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Vagabond Sam

It amuses me that the primary selling point of Stadia was ‘reducing the friction of hardware requirements’ and Early Access is based around buying what is essentially an (admittedly cheapish) console bundle with one controller and a pack in game.

Principle of charity though, I guess they are trying to manage demand levels to something more manageable in case of the servers falling over…

But still.

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Jeffery Witman

So you still have to buy the games, plus you need an unlimited bandwidth, high speed connection, and then you pay them a bunch of money on top of that, just so you can avoid buying a gaming PC and/or console once every several years. Seems very not worth it and I’m assuming they’ll be giving out extended free trials by next spring.

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Anthony Clark

Exactly what I was thinking. I’d need unlimited data and bandwidth to attempt to equal having a gaming pc. Doesn’t seem worth the added up cost. Just get a gaming rig and be done with it. Then you wouldn’t have to pay a sub to play the games you’ve already bought!

Alyn
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Alyn

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Anthony Clark

So $10 a month, and I get to buy the games on top of that too.

So I have to pay monthly to get to play the games I’ve already bought?! No thank you.

I don’t see that as being better than just buying a system of some kind so that I can play whatever titles I’ve bought whenever I want with or without being online.

This is a pass for me now that I see their business model. Just no. Plus they’re pushing that controller awfully hard. I’m a keyboard+mouse player. No thank you for controller.

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Sray

The subscription is only for the 4k/catalog service: games that you’ve paid for remain playable at 1080p if you let your sub lapse. In fact Stadia will be entirely free in early 2020 for the 1080p service. Also, the service will launch with a few “free” games in the catalog (I’m guessing probably indie games that you frequently see given away/in catalog programs such as Orwell, Oxenfree, and Darksiders), so that new subscribers won’t immediately have to buy games, but unlike the Destiny expansion, you won’t get to keep those games without the sub.

Additionally, the controller isn’t required at all: these are all the PC versions of the games that are being streamed, so you can continue to use your mouse and keyboard if you’re streaming to your PC (or if you’re using a device with an integrated Chromecast that accepts M+K input). I think they’re just talking about the controller so much because they’re trying really hard to sell the idea of this being a “console without the console”.

Not trying to change your mind, just clearing up some misinformation I’ve seen going around in a few different places.

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Anthony Clark

Nice reply. Good info. Thank you.

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Sray

Just adding a bit of a correction to my point about K+M support: it looks like at launch playing on the TV will require the controller. My original statement about the Chromecast devices that support M+K was based on the assumption that Android TV devices would have Stadia support at launch; and now it’s looking like that will not be the case because it appears Stadia isn’t going to launch as an app, but as a site you access on the Chrome browser, and Android TV doesn’t come with Chrome.

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Schmidt.Capela

The idea of the controller is that it’s actually independent of whichever device you are streaming to; it connects directly to the Stadia servers. This means using the controller you could potentially play Stadia games on a TV (or any other device with a screen) that doesn’t even support connecting external input devices like controllers or KB+Mouse.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

It’s supposed to save you from having to buy a new computer to play stuff every few years though. Considering the price to run some of this stuff smoothly and the issues with getting stuff to run well on all the different systems, this will be good for some people. I mean if you only have to pay $360 every three years rather than at least $1,000 (and usually much more) for a new PC every three years, that’s a big money saver in the end.

You’re going to need some serious bandwidth for it took look good and run smooth though. Bandwidth I don’t have.

Honestly a lot of people feel this is the future of gaming, they have for years. They’ve just been waiting for average internet speeds to be good enough. It will take quite a very long time before it takes over, but one day far in the future this may be how most people play games, who knows.

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Robert Mann

Looking at it:
-Internet at grade: $400 more a year.
-Cost of service: $120 a year.

New computer that can play at 1080p: Less than 1.5 years, will last at that level for longer than that same cost.

Simply put, until the internet in most of the nation catches up, I believe this to be DOA outside a few places. For those places, it might be worthwhile. For the rest of us, at 3 years the internet costs alone would likely make the newer computer a better choice.

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Fervor Bliss

If it will stop modders/cheaters, sign me up. So many games have been ruined.

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Bruno Brito

Modders =/= cheaters.

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Schmidt.Capela

Also, this does nothing to stop exploits.

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Robert Mann

Nothing has stopped cheating/exploiting, excepting the removal of such players as a (usually temporary) measure.

Thus why I am a proponent of linking real identity to usage, and companies having real identity options to force users into different servers based on personal choices (aka, trolling, trash talk, sexism, and so on can be sent to one place, where the rest of us are not).

This, of course, means that the system would require legal standards for access, and investigation efforts for reports of problems would have to be ready (because we all know Shady JerkMcAssHat is going to pretend to be somebody else to try to get around this).

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Sray

I am flabbergasted. The initial line up of game offerings are just baffling to me. Not because of what is there, but rather by what is not: virtually no exclusives, and no first party games. But more importantly, there no casual games aimed at an adult audience, and no juvenile games. This is a product that is absolutely ideal for urban thirty and forty-somethings who love instant entertainment; and for parents looking to keep their kids entertained but who worry about the safety of an expensive Nintendo Switch and/or DS… and these are the audiences that Google has completely ignored in order to chase after the same teen to early thirties gamers who are pretty much already locked up by the existing consoles/PC gaming (and are also both skeptical of and hostile to the concept of streaming services for gaming). In all entertainment mediums, content is king; and I’m not seeing and particularly compelling content.

Charging at the strengths of your more established foes is definitely something that you don’t expect; but I’m having a hell of a time trying to figure out what they’re trying to do when there’s a gigantic market just waiting to be scooped up by exactly this type of service.

That having been said, I’m still buying this. What can I say: I’m a 21st century digital boy; I don’t know how to live, but I got ALL the toys.