Google Stadia is finally here after lots of hype and lots of promises about what this online gaming service is capable of.
But let's see what it actually does on day one.
A lot of companies have tried cloud gaming before.
Whether it's on live, Playstation Now, there's Nvidia's G-Force now.
Microsoft is doing a version called X-Cloud.
Well with Stadia, Google basically said, we have a lot of services and cloud know how we make pretty decent hardware as well and maybe we could put this all together and get a really great, Cloud gaming service for people there was a lot of hype there was a lot of promises about features and games and sharing and social stuff.
What it's launching with at least initially is a little bit more limited.
What I've been able to mess around with so far using this little foundries edition kit is a very small handful of games that will work on a Chromecast connected to a TV.
Or a Google branded Pixel phone.
And that's about it for now setting up Google stadium the first time, frankly, a pretty involved situation.
I had to download a CD app to my iPhone, although you can't use it to play games, at least not right now only to do the setup and I had to.
Connect the ChromeCast through the steady app on my phone, and then connect my google account to that and then repeat the process with the controller.
Get that connected to the phone, and then to the ChromeCast.
Finally, I was up and running.
And I have to tell you, I did not play it super safe and use a wired internet connection.
Which is what anybody who does cloud gaming says you really ought to do.
I just went all in with the WiFi.
Actually not bad so far.
I have pretty decent Wi-Fi here.
But of course what you really wanna see is how does it play games?
I got a few ready here, including let's see, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
So let's try that one first.
All right, so I've got Lara Croft here.
We're doing one of the challenge tombs in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
I mean, it looks pretty good not as good as you're playing on let's say your Xbox One X on your, 4k OLED TV but not bad.
Not a ton of stuttering.
So far frame rate seems decent.
If I go into the graphic settings here it basically just offers me higher frame rate or higher resolution Options without really explaining what either one means, but this is the higher frame a version, it seems okay.
I'm gonna jump off here.
There's definitely a little bit of stuttering here and there but not too bad so far.
I mean, overall not bad.
This is not a first person shooter where you need super split second.
Reactions although it is a pretty timing based game, and I think this tomb raider test is actually pretty successful so far even more so than I thought it would be.
So, let's Try some destiny.
This is gonna start me off right at the beginning again because I didn't import my destiny character.
So destiny, of course is an online game you play with other players and you're running into them during the course of the game.
I'm just doing the little intro training mission right now so I'm not gonna see anyone else Around right this second but I will say, playing through just a little bit of this.
It actually seems even smoother than Tomb Raider Dead.
I think they clearly did a lot of tweaking to make sure that destiny runs really well on this platform.
And you need that especially if you're going to be playing with other players.
You don't want stuttering or slow down.
To mess up your online shared gaming experience.
I mean, so far, just a couple little stutters here and there.
Definitely less than I saw in Tomb Raider.
And frankly, it looks pretty good, and runs pretty smooth there.
That's a pretty high frame rate, all things considered.
And remember, the game is not running on a device hooked up to this tv.
The game is running on a Google server farm somewhere and I'm giving it input through this controller.
That input is travelling up to the cloud, something's happening on the computer in the cloud running the game, and results are being beamed back back to me online.
It's going through my wi-fi into the Chromecast.
That's plugged into the back of the TV.
And that's how you it looks like I'm playing the game in real time, even though there's a certain amount of intrinsic lag built in there, but response wise, it's not bad.
It's pretty decent.
So of course playing games on a big screen is great, but the promise here is that you can take your games, anywhere any phone, any tablet Right now it's just a handful of Google Pixel phones.
So I've disconnected the controller from the Chromecast, set it up with a couple of cool screen savers here and instead hooked it up to a Google Pixel three using this strange night retainer style contraption.
It's a plastic clip that keeps your phone in front of the controller and then helps route this USB see cable From the controller to the phone because the wireless connection between the Stadia controller and the Stadia app on the Pixel phone is not working yet.
You have to use a physical connection.
But I'm into the game already, and frankly on this smaller screen, it looks even smoother than it does on the big screen.
And again, this is running just off of WiFi, it's not hardwired.
It's also not going over an actual data network, it's just going over our WiFi here.
And the control is hardwired in with this USBC cable.
So that saves you a little bit of latency that way.
I'm not sure what it's going to feel like if you have a fully wireless controller and and frankly, it feels pretty responsive.
I have no real complaints so far.
I mean, considering you're playing this on a phone, I mean, this looks pretty extraordinary, at least it's as good as anything you'd see on a handheld platform like the Nintendo Switch.
And first-person shooters are among the most challenging things to get right when you have any kind of latency.
I mean that's not that bad at all.
The problem is here I'm playing Destiny which is not a new game.
And I was playing Tomb Raider, also not a new game.
That is the state of Google Stadia at least as of right now.
It plays a handful of games on a handful of devices in order to be really worth investing in, they're gonna need to greatly expand that catalogue of games and just as importantly expand the number of devices it works on.
Once you have Stadia, let's say, working on an iPhone or an iPad just as well as it does on a Pixel phone or a Chromecast, well that's when I'll really get excited.
I will say, however, as a veteran of cloud gaming going all the way back to the OnLive days, when things were really sketchy and stuttery and full of latency, The couple of games that I did get to play were really smoothly much better than I expected.
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