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Google Stadia - My Early Consensus

So I know this is a decently well covered topic in the reviewer community. But I wanted to ad my voice to the topic as I feel the reviews have been overly negative. Google Stadia is not the greatest experience as of yet, but it is not necessarily terrible either. If my benchmark is a gaming PC or a console there are things that Stadia is inherently better at, and things it is worse at. However, if improvements can be made I think that Stadia can become a true console killer and an "acceptable" gaming PC replacement for those who cannot afford a gaming PC.

 

Right now I have had my Stadia Founders edition since November 26th, so exactly 2 weeks. With probably 15+hrs played. I actually never recommend pre-orders but the founders edition at $180 cad is not a crazy investment compared to an Xbox or Playstation, and I wanted to be an early adopter. I have listed how my Stadia is being used below, as my setup would likely be the "ideal" configuration according to Google. I fully recognize that for those who cannot meet the requirements that Google notifies users of, that the experience would likely be a lot different than mine.

 

My setup is a hardline ethernet connection at 100/MBs, on a 75" LG 4k HDR TV. 

 

Stadia arrival, unboxing, and setup:

I pre-ordered the Stadia Founders edition on August 11th of 2019, I got my order confirmation email right away. The next email I received from Google was on November 18th. It was a run through of the Stadia setup that had some worrisome information for Wi-Fi users (I will elaborate further), and general info. On November 20th I got an email saying my order was dispatched with an arrival date of November 26-27th. The next day I got the setup email with more instructions on my gamertag setup and more info on hardware setup. I received my Stadia on the 26th and easily setup the Chromecast Ultra, the remote is setup through the Stadia mobile app (easily done on my Samsung S10+). The instructions provided were clear and concise, the controller was well packaged, and the process took less time to setup than an Xbox. The fact that updates and downloads are not required is one of the best features I initially noticed, and is hugely appealing.

Now, this said I have seen many reviews and comments on those reviews stating that the setup emails did not get sent and that the Stadia app would not download unless the device was a Google device. The fact that the vast majority had this problems is discouraging, it sways potential buyers from ordering the product and Google really dropped the ball here. I am happy I did not have these issues but that is meaningless for those that did.

My personal setup experience is rated at a 10/10, I'd give an Xbox One a 7.5/10 for reference. But I recognize that others cannot get their Stadia to work at all because the app which is required to setup the controller will not work on certain devices. I am not sure if me living in Canada makes a difference but something for potential buyers to consider. And something for Google to improve on.

 

Gaming visuals:

This is another positive in my books. Having just bought my new 75" 4k TV and having first used my original Xbox One, that felt like an awful experience. 1080p on a 75" 4k TV is brutal, it feels like I went back in time to playing a PS2 again. (No hate on the PS2 but I remember first playing my PS3 and thinking that the PS2 was just an ancient piece of s#!t). First playing my Xbox One, and then playing the Stadia feels like that experience. In particular AC Odyssey, it is visually stunning, with no delays downloading the content, and it looks amazing in 4k HDR. It feels like a premium experience and is probably heightened by the fact that this is the first time I have experienced 4k gaming on a screen bigger than 27". But regardless I am impressed, it maintains 60FPS as promised and there is no image lag. Destiny 2 looks pretty great as well, not AC Odyssey great, but still a pleasant experience.

I would rate the visual experience at a 9/10, again for reference my gaming PC would be the benchmark at a 10/10, and my original Xbox One is a 5/10 on my TV setup.

 

Gaming latency:

Here is where I get critical. As predicted, latency was always going to be an issue. My initial reaction when typing my account info at the start of AC Odyssey (uplay account login) was holy crap this is awful. My standards were immediately lowered which was probably good because during actual game play in AC Odyssey it did not feel nearly as bad. In certain hand to hand combat situations it is slightly noticeable, but overall not as bad as expected. It takes getting used to but in a game like AC Odyssey it does not feel terrible and it does not hinder game play.

FPS games on the other hand are a different narrative altogether. In Destiny 2 the latency when trying to quickly look down the gun sights and aim is a lot more noticeable. I have yet to play online multiplayer in any game but I already know I would likely find it unplayable. If I died because my reaction time would be quicker than the latency time I know I would get frustrated. The good news being that others may have the same issue so it is not like I would be the only disadvantaged. 

But having spent the last year primarily playing Battlefront II, GTA V, and Apex Legends on a 144hz G-sync monitor with an overclocked i7-8700K and GTX 1080, the latency in Destiny 2 feels... frustrating to say the least. Now, if you have not experienced gaming with the performance I have then you may feel differently, but it's hard to go from a dedicated high-end gaming PC to Stadia.

Open world adventure type games like Odyssey fair a lot better, if you enjoy these types of games Stadia would feel perfectly fine. Unfortunately, for players who love hardcore, fast, FPS games, Stadia is not the device for you (yet). Assassins Creed is one of my favorite game series so my initial experience being played on Stadia has been great.

My overall rating for latency is a 7/10 for open world games, and 3.5/10 for FPS games. an Xbox One would get a rating of an 8/10.

 

Overal thoughts:

Right now I have a hard time recommending Stadia to anyone, friends included. My biggest disappointment is the game library. It only has around 20 games, most of which feel like tier 2 and 3 games, they really need more AAA titles to attract more buyers, and I feel like more was promised. The 'free' games included with the Stadia Pro/Founders edition are pretty dismal. I know Destiny 2 and Tombraider have a decent following but the only other game I actually wanted, which I had to buy, is for-mentioned AC Odyssey. Otherwise, I really have no interest in buying any other titles for 2 main reasons. 1, they are not AAA titles that I am excited about, and 2, the pricing is very high. I got AC Odyssey on a Stadio Pro special pricing for $40cad, the regular pricing being $80cad. I can get Odyssey on Steam or Xbox for less than $30 because it is now a year old, so this feels like a complete rip off. It is still a game I really wanted to play so I bought it, but otherwise I am not paying the prices Stadia wants for games that I do not really want to play to begin with.

Here are a few examples:

Grid - $70 cad

Metro Exodus - $54 cad

Red Dead Redemption - $80 cad

NBA 2K20 - $80 cad

Football Manager 2020 - $60cad

And so forth, the same games are found for cheaper on other consoles or on Steam. That said if you buy games on Steam or for a console your initial cost is much higher as the initial investment price of the console/PC is much more than Stadia. So I suppose that is a trade off, but for someone who already owns a PC and console it is hard pill to swallow.

 

My second issue which is not something I experienced but I was worried about when reading, is the internet setup Stadia recommends. This is word-for-word what I received in the setup email:

"Connect your Google Chromecast Ultra to your router with an Ethernet cable. A wired connection between Chromecast and your router can make a big difference when playing games on your TV."

"If you don’t have that option, set up your wireless router in the same room as your Chromecast, but keep them at least a foot away from one another. If playing over WiFi and your home Wi-Fi network supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, use the 5Ghz network." 

I am glad that this is not an issue for myself as I have a 100/MBs ethernet connection, but for those who cannot hardline to their router the performance could really suffer. Furthermore I think that Google saying "but keep them at least a foot away from one another" is ignorant. If your router is one foot from you Chromecat device you could obviously hardline.  My worry is that their expectation for how the device is going to be used is unrealistic and because of this people will have bad experiences, which through word of mouth will hurt the product. 

 

Conclusion:

To wrap this all up my primary concerns with Stadia is the games library, latency in FPS games, and the overall user experience for those that cannot use the device in Googles "ideal" setup. But on the upside the device can output high quality 4k gaming at a fraction of the price vs a 4k gaming PC. And not having to wait to update your games/device feels like a god-send. The plug-and-play experience feels premium, and I think there is potential for it to be truly great.

I genuinely want to use this as a replacement for consoles in the future and I hope the Stadia experience can be greatly refined prior to Stadia Base being launched. Stadia shows promise but right now it is to early in the game (pun intended). My hope is that Google is willing to provide the resources to improve the experience so that enough units can sell to make this viable long term.

 

If you have any suggestions for further testing or any questions I will happily do my best to answer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nice.

good review

Anything i've written between the * and * is not meant to be taken seriously.

keep in mind that helping with problems is hard if you aren't specific and detailed.

i'm also not a professional, (yet) so make sure to personally verify important information as i could be wrong.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Nice review. I've been watching a few Youtube videos today on Stadia as I'm looking for something portable I can carry to a friends house etc. that I can just hook up to their tv and just play. It's a shame about the latency as every review I've read so far as also mentioned this being a big issue. 

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17 minutes ago, xs0ck3t said:

Nice review. I've been watching a few Youtube videos today on Stadia as I'm looking for something portable I can carry to a friends house etc. that I can just hook up to their tv and just play. It's a shame about the latency as every review I've read so far as also mentioned this being a big issue. 

Thanks! Yeah latency can be a real issue, like I said, in non FPS games not really a problem, but this is with hardline ethernet connection at 100/MBs. Using slower Wi-Fi can introduce more issues. I genuinely hope they can make improvements and make it viable. 

AMD Motherboard Tier List  GPU Cooling Tier List  PSU Tier List  A Dive Into Custom Keyboards & Mechanical Switches

NEWCOMERS Remember to ' Reply ' to comments in order for people to see them, this is done by clicking the arrow icon at the bottom of a comment (Quote).

My Builds:

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Blueberry Pi  R9 3900XT  Asus X470 ROG Crosshair VII Hero Wi-Fi ATX  Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 4x16GB 3200MHz CL16  EVGA GTX 1080Ti SC Black Edition 11GB  EVGA 850W P2 W/ Blue Sleeved Cables  Cryorig R1 Universal (Blue)  Corsair ML Pro Blue LED Fans  Fractal Design Meshify C TG ATX Mid Tower  

Asus ROG SWIFT PG348Q 100Hz IPS G-Sync UW  Dell UltraSharp U3419W 60Hz IPS UW  Custom TOFU96  Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB 

 

J.A.R.V.I.S.  R7 3800X  Asus B550-I ROG STRIX Wi-Fi ITX  G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x16GB 3600MHz CL16  EVGA GTX 1080 SC2 iCX 8GB  Corsair SF 750W Platinum  Corsair H100i Pro AIO  Noctua NF-A12x15 Chromax Fans  FormD T1 SFF ITX Case  

LG 75UM8070PUA 4K UHD 120Hz IPS HDR TV  Corsair K63 Cherry MX Red Special Edition Wireless  Corsair Ironclaw RGB Wireless

 

2 Go  R3 2200G  Asus B450-I ROG STRIX Wi-Fi ITX  Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16 White  Vega Integrated Graphics  Seasonic Flex ATX 350W  Noctua NH-L9a  Geeek A30 V2 SFF ITX Case

 

Gaming PC  i7 6700k  Asus Z270-G Gaming Wi-Fi mATX  Corsair Vengeance LPX (White) 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16  Asus RX5700 Dual Evo OC 8GB  Corsair TXm 550W W/ White Sleeved Cables  Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L RGB AIO  DeepCool RF120 RGB Fans  Thermaltake Versa H18 TG mATX Case  

ViewSonic Elite XG240R 1ms 144Hz TN FreeSync  Logitech G610 Cherry MX Brown  UtechSmart Venus MMO w/ Omron Switches

 

SFF ITX Home PC  i5-7500  MSI B250I Gaming Pro Wi-Fi AC ITX  G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x8GB 2800MHz  Intel Integrated Graphics  Seasonic SSP Flex ATX 300W PSU  Cryorig C7  Velka 3 rev 1.2 SFF ITX Case (Grey) 

 

Laptop  Dell XPS13 2-in-1 7390 (2020)  i7-1065G7  32GB 3733MHz LPDDR4x  Intel Integrated Graphics  1TB NVME M.2  UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Display 

 

Keyboard Collection  GMMK Full Size Hot Swap-able  TOFU96 90%  XD84 Pro 75%  Keycool KC84 75% Wireless RGB Hot Swap-able  KBD67v2 MKII 65% Hot Swap-able  KBD67 Lite 65% Hot Swap-able  OLKB Preonic V3 Ortholinear  Drop Carina 60% RGB Hot Swap-able  Southpaw75 60% W/ Left Numpad  Cospad XD24 Numpad

 

Mechanical Key Switch Collection  Zealios V2 65g  Zilents V2 67g  C³ Kiwi ‖ C³ Tangerine  Invyr Holy Panda  Kailh Box Thick Jades ‖ Kailh Box Royal ‖ Kailh Box Heavy Dark Yellow ‖ Kailh Box Heavy Burnt Orange  Kailh Box White  Kailh Box Red  Kailh Pro Purple  Kailh Pro Burgandy  Gateron Yellow  Gateron Black  Gateron Brown  Gateron Green  Gateron Blue ‖ Cherry MX Black ‖ Cherry MX Brown ‖ Cherry MX Red

 

Key Cap Collection  Star Wars GMK Boba Fett  GMK Red Samurai  GMK Laser CyberDeck  MaxKey B&W SA ‖ Matt3o MT3 /dev/tty  Drop Skylight Horizon ‖ Glorious Black Aura

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