First let me preface this review by disclosing that I’m not a console gamer. Having began my gaming career in earnest on PC, I never got the appeal of console gaming nor have I mastered the fine art of controller button mashing. Mouse+WASD is my jam, but as I transition from part-time-gamer to hardly-ever-gamer I’m forced to leave behind the competitive and ultra focused leaned-in PC gaming world for the laid back and lazy world of couch console gaming.
Enter Google Stadia, a console-less console experience for the modern gamer. While I do still dabble in (imperfect but decent enough) Steam, Stadia represents a small step in gaming technology but a giant leap in gaming mindset. The latter I did not understand until I had a few days to fully absorb what Stadia truly represents. Which if Google (and now Amazon) can pull off, should make Sony and Microsoft very nervous.
- Setup was smooth and easy with Chromecast Ultra.
- Time to gaming is very fast.
- Stadia Pro ($10/month) is a great deal if you don’t already have other gaming subscriptions.
- Much easier & cheaper than Steam, which requires a gaming PC.
- Other controllers are supported.
- No dealing with game updates and downloads!
- No console or gaming PC required.
- Pro membership not required to play purchased games.
- Game library is limited.
- Google may kill the service in 2-4 years.
- Requires a fast & reliable Internet connection.
- While truly mobile gaming is possible, the Stadia controller works best at home.
The irony of this experience is that it made my want to hook up and play my Steam games with my now discontinued hardware Steam Link and innovative Steam controllers. Not only do I have a large library of quirky and AAA titles in Steam, I can also use an emulator to play old Nintendo games which are the family favorites.
The PC-based, DIY world of Steam will always have it’s appeal and place on my HDMI input list, although once I was done replacing batteries and updating my Steam Link and game library, and waking up my PC, I immediately realized the advantage of the “just play” mentality of cloud-based Stadia. Welcome to the future old man.