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Google Stadia is cloud gaming’s first truly bright long-term forecast. After spending years tied to the console upgrade cycle, gamers are about to get a welcome reprieve. Stadia provides a growing digital game library that works anywhere you go. Ambitious as it sounds, we’ve finally tested it in our own home and we can firmly say that it’s a true console alternative and, in time, a potential platform killer.
It’s doing a lot of things right. Besides offering surprisingly enjoyable performance with little latency on our home network, the service offers streaming via phones, tablets, PCs, and Chromecast. On top of that, Stadia does built-in YouTube Gaming live-streaming and, if you buy a Premiere Edition, comes with an ergonomic Wi-Fi controller that reduces latency showing Google has looked at Stadia from all angles.
So how does it stack up to competitors like PlayStation Plus Premium and GeForce Now? Well, we found that Stadia significantly outperformed PlayStation Now in terms of stability and while GeForce Now promises a larger library, Stadia is streaming 4K HDR and continues to release bigger titles. So, does that mean Stadia is the perfect streaming service? Well, not quite.
Like any other streaming service, your experience could be radically different based on your proximity to Google’s servers and your connection speed. Unlike consoles that, roughly speaking, perform exactly the same from one location to the next, there’s no guarantee when it comes to game-streaming that we will all have the same experience.
Stadia is a cloud gaming service developed and operated by Google. It is accessible through Chromecast Ultra and Android TV devices, on personal computers via the Google Chrome web browser and other Chromium-based browsers, Chromebooks and tablets running Chrome OS, and the Stadia mobile app on supported Android smartphones as long as the latest version of the Chrome browser and the latest version of the Stadia app are installed.
There is also an experimental mode with support for all Android devices capable of installing the Stadia mobile app. In December 2020, Google released an iOS browser-based progressive web application for Stadia, enabling gameplay in the Safari browser.