Google Stadia

Note my thought below only relate to using Stadia on the living room TV with the chromecast provided

Whilst I don’t really consider myself a hardcore gamer, I do enjoy playing games. Over the years I have played and owned quite a few. My background is in Art and Digital Photography, so my thoughts are not that of a Tech Guru just someone who has used tech and computers most days of my life since 1993. My love of gaming on the TV started years before in 1976 when the Binatone TV Master Console came out. This was cutting edge for the time, well at least it was a step up from a blank screen. If you want to learn more Google it! Anyway, from that point I was hooked. Over the coming years I had far too many electronic gaming consoles, all of which were traded away once something new caught my eye. Before getting Stadia I was still using my old reliable Xbox One Halo 5 Limited Edition as my interest in upgrading boxes had begun to wane.

When I saw Google was entering the world of gaming it was a no brainer to give it a go. I like Google products; they seldom have given me any problems, If they do, they are usually sorted out very quickly as I subscribe to Google 1. 

I pre-ordered my Google Stadia Founders Edition on the 3rd of October. Why so late? Well before that I could not have used it as I was living in a part of Scotland that barely got dial up speeds. I now live in the North West of England and get around 57.5 Mbps download and 18.2 Mbps up most days. Having been one of the early adopters of digital photography and then Adobe Photoshop in the days when film was still king, I know all about ‘nay-sayers’. I was told daily that digital photography would never catch on… So when people said cloud based gaming wouldn’t work, it was just more of the same. I had no doubt there would be hiccups along the way but in time it would be ironed out. In a few years’ time the young will laugh at the idea of a plastic slab under the TV to play games, just as film developing confounds them now. 

I must confess I was a little amazed about the level of hate Stadia was getting before it was even released. But alas I do know we live in toxic times. There is something in all of us that likes to hear and watch a good rant. I knew Stadia was being released on November 19 but my order info said I would get mine by the 27th. When the 19th came I was a little surprised that I hadn’t received a fixed delivery date, and more importantly I didn’t have the all-important invite code to get the whole thing working and secure my gaming name.

So having left it a day I decided to go on to Google1 help chat to see what I could find out. I was told that they would investigate and get back to me which they always had before… later that day I got an email from a courier saying they would deliver my Founders kit on NOV 21ST.

What you get in the box

The pack arrived but sadly no invite code. I viewed all the threads online and YouTube videos proclaiming the end of the world was nigh because the codes had not yet been sent out to everyone. I concluded there was no point chasing it up again and resigned myself to a long wait. The next morning (22nd) my code was waiting in my inbox. I wandered off downstairs, loaded it all up, got my username and started playing destiny 2 within a few short minutes. Destiny always took ages to load on my original Xbox One…but no such problems here. Maybe I’m getting too old, but the graphics look fine to me, the controller works great with no noticeable lag. Note: I do sit next to the hub and the TV / Chromecast are not very far from it either…obviously I am using the include ethernet connection. We have 4 Google Minis, a ring doorbell, and my wife constantly streaming something on the iPad. So, I was amazed how well it played. In fact it’s more like magic than tech. lol

I know other people are not having so much success, but I can only see what’s in front of me and it works fine. I can only believe it will get better over the weeks and months ahead. 

I see why many hardcore gamers may turn their noses up at the price and game selection. But for people like me who just like to pick up a controller and play a game to kill some time or destress it’s great. I usually enjoy Borderlands but have held off playing version 3 as I knew I was going to give Stadia ago, so that will be the next game I get when its avalible .

Any downsides?
For me the major downside is how hot the chromecast that comes with the kit gets, I’ve not had it switch off due to overheating like some people have reported but still it worries me a bit. Personally, I would never leave it unattended and switch it off at the mains when I’m not using it. Google claims I’ve no need to worry and they may be right, I just prefer to err on the side of caution. 

So, would I recommend Stadia for living room gaming based on my experience? Well Yes, very much so but only if you’re:
1) Happy with the current game selection
2) Have the required internet speed.
3) Not transfixed with if you’re getting 4k graphics every second of the game.

Let me clarify that last point, graphics seem fine to me, but I’m not anal about it. Sure I want my movies to be 4k if they say they are, but when I’m gaming at my age I can’t really tell what the quality is across the living room. Let’s just say most of the time it looks better than the graphics on my old xbox one, so that will do for me. I personally have no interest in using stadia on my Phone or PC and I know that’s the whole point for most people.

Over the coming months this system will improve, and I have no doubt game prices will be cut, as yes they are too expensive at the moment. So will Google really commit to Gaming? Who can say, but in my experience in tech obsolescence is the only certainty.