Will outperform Google Stadia consoles graphically

Google Stadia in the test

e-media.at ›› published on by Ivica Putnik

A console or a powerful gaming PC is usually required to play “real” video games. With Stadia, Google wants to prove that there is another way. With Stadia, in addition to a gamepad, all you need is a fast internet connection and numerous top games can be played on a simple laptop, smartphone or television. We looked at how well this works in practice.

Stadia is a cloud gaming service in which computer games are run in Google data centers and transmitted as a video stream over the Internet to the device used. The player only sends the input data made on the gamepad back to the server. The Stadia servers deliver a stately 10.7 teraflops, which means that the range is in the region of a PlayStation 5.

Numerous end devices

You can play on a variety of devices. Regardless of whether it is a simple laptop, an older PC, a compatible smartphone or a tablet - since the games are run in the cloud, the device only has to be fast enough in the end to display a video stream. The Chrome browser is used on the PC. The games can also be played on a television. This requires the Stadia Premiere Edition for 100 euros, a set consisting of the Stadia controller and Google's Chromecast Ultra adapter. You can switch between the existing devices at will, so that a game started on the TV can be played in another room or on a smartphone or tablet while on vacation.

Free vs. Pro Membership

The use of Google Stadia is basically free of charge, but the games have to be purchased just like on the PC or the consoles. The selection of paid games includes around 100 titles, including current and slightly older hits like Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Doom Eternal, Immortal Fenyx Rising, Red Dead Redemption 2, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and Cyberpunk 2077. To be a real alternative to To present gaming on the PC, Google should endeavor to significantly expand the range of games.

In addition to the free basic version, Google Stadia also offers a Pro membership, which costs around 10 euros per month. While the games run in the free version with full HD resolution and offer stereo sound, many of them can be played with Stadia Pro in up to 4K including HDR and 5.1 surround sound. Another advantage: Pro membership includes an additional selection of titles that are included and can be played at will as long as the subscription is active. The existing offer is expanded every month.

Fast internet required

Google recommends an Internet connection with a speed of at least 10 Mbit / s for Stadia - provided that the game is played in Full HD. For 4K, however, at least 35 Mbit / s is recommended. According to Google, the end device should also be connected via LAN cable for lag-free display of games. In practice, the tested games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption 2 or Mortal Kombat 11 could also be played via WLAN without any problems. There was a minimal delay, but so small that it did not interfere.

Setup & use

The initial setup is done quickly. After an account has been created and the Stadia app has been installed on the smartphone, the gamepad must be linked. In the next step, games can be bought or activated in the case of a pro membership. After that, playing on Stadia is even easier than on a console or PC, because if you buy a game, you can start right away. The games do not need to be installed and Google will take care of any updates or patches. Scores are saved in the cloud and multiplayer modes are also supported.

service

Although some games can be controlled on a PC using a mouse and keyboard and on a smartphone using a touchscreen, a real controller should be used for a sensible gaming experience. The Stadia controller offered by Google is slightly heavier and larger than the gamepads on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It transmits inputs directly to the Stadia servers via WLAN, which saves a few milliseconds in transmission time compared to the detour via PC or smartphone. Aside from the Stadia controller, you can also use Xbox and PlayStation 4 gamepads.

picture quality

Depending on the game, the visual differences compared to a PC or a console are minimal to clearly visible. With Stadia Pro, the 4K display of the Stadia stream is a bit more blurred than on a gaming PC, which is particularly noticeable in the case of very fast titles and those with detailed graphics and high foresight in the game. On the other hand, the games run extremely smoothly and with high quality settings, which optically outperforms mid-range PCs and consoles from the previous generation. If Stadia is only used in Full HD mode, the differences are clearer. There were only very few dropouts or stutters in the test.

Conclusion: Provided that there is a sufficiently fast and stable internet connection, Stadia works largely error-free and uncomplicated in practice. Stadia is not aimed at hardcore gamers, because they will not want to do without their console or a gaming PC. This is the only way to enjoy all the important game titles and to enjoy them in the best possible quality. Stadia, on the other hand, is the ideal offer for everyone who is interested in one or the other game, but does not want to invest several hundred euros in gaming hardware. Stadia can boast particularly with complex titles such as Cyberpunk 2077, because otherwise a PC that costs more than 1,000 euros is required for a comparable gaming experience.

Google Stadia

➜ Cloud gaming service
➜ Play on TV, smartphone, laptop or tablet
➜ 4K and HDR support (Stadia Pro)
➜ Store with over 100 games, including exclusive titles
➜ Free games with Stadia Pro
➜ fast internet connection required
➜ Price: € 10,– per month for Stadia Pro or approx. € 100 (Controller + Chromecast Ultra) for playing on TV

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