What is Google Stadia? How do I play? How much does it cost?
What is Google Stadia?
Google Stadia is a cloud gaming or game streaming service. Stadia allows you to play internet streamed video games on your device without the use of a traditional console or gaming PC.
In other words, Google Stadia is a console in the cloud. Accessing Stadia is free at the moment, but there is also a paid tier that allows you to access their library of rotating games that are free for Stadia Pro users.
To get started, make sure you have good, stable internet and the basic hardware on which to play.
How do I play Google Stadia?
To get started on Google Stadia you’ll first need a Google account. If you don’t have an account with Google already (Gmail, YouTube, etc.) you can create one while signing up for Stadia.
You may also have been given an invite code. If you have one, you’ll be able to input it once you create your account.
If you prefer to get started on your approved Android mobile device, begin by downloading the Stadia app from the Play store.
Once you sign up you can access a free trial of Stadia Pro, which will give you ability to claim and play any of the games currently in the Pro rotation. You can purchase games in the Stadia store as well, but the Stadia Pro free trial is a great way to give it a try and see if it’s the right cloud gaming service for your needs.
It’s recommended that you have internet speeds of 10 Mbps or greater, and you should be prepared to use about 12.6 GB/hr of data if you’re streaming at 1080p.
If you’re streaming at 720p, you should see data usage of around 4.5 GB/hr. If you’re streaming at 4K, expect usage of up to 20 GB/hr and ideally have internet speeds of 35 Mbps or greater.
You’re able to play Stadia on a wide variety of machines and devices, which is a part of its appeal. Currently you can access your Stadia library on Windows, macOS, some Android devices (current list), and basically any computer that runs Chrome or Chromium browsers.
You can also play Stadia on your TV using a Chromecast Ultra. If you choose this route, you’ll also need a Google Stadia Controller, whereas the browser version allows you to use controllers you may already have laying around from your other gaming consoles (e.g. Xbox One, DualShock 4, Nintendo Switch Pro).
How much does it cost?
Assuming you already own a personal computer and have stable internet speeds of at least 10 Mbps, getting started on Stadia is free sans the cost of any games you’d like to purchase from the Stadia store. Their free tier offers streaming up to 1080p and up to 60 FPS.
The Pro tier is $9.99 per month, and unlocks a rotating library of free games for you to claim and begin playing instantly. If you’re new to the platform you should be able to sign up for a free trial of Stadia Pro and decide if you think it’s worth the monthly fee.
The Pro tier supports 4K at 60 FPS, HDR, 5.1 surround sound, and gives you access to exclusive sales for Pro subscribers. The biggest benefit, however, is access to the free games library.
The rotating catalog of free games allows you to ‘claim’ a game while it’s available. Once claimed, the game will remain in your library indefinitely. In other words, once you claim a game you get to keep playing it even after it’s no longer offered in the rotating catalog of Pro games. So keep an eye on their catalog and make sure you claim all good titles before they’re gone!
At the time of writing, there are around fifty games in the Stadia store available for purchase and around nineteen games included in the free catalog for Stadia Pro subscribers.
If you have any other questions about getting started on Google Stadia, please let us know in the comments! You can also check out our knowledge base for a price comparison for all cloud gaming services, and much more!
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