Google Stadia launched, the first impressions are in, and what’s there mostly works, that’s it. Nobody is super excited about it and it’s not that amazing.
There is a fair amount of positive things being said about it. First and the most obvious one is that it actually works. The controller feels good in your hands which is commendable considering it’s Google’s first controller. One of the big things being presented is the seamless switch between devices, and that also really does work, you continue on your phone exactly where you stopped on your TV.
Something that is actually amazing is the fact that your phone and laptop won’t get hot. They aren’t rendering anything, it’s just an internet connection, and that is actually a huge plus.
On to the less than good, is the fact that some people are reporting connectivity issues and games freezing or crashing. Only a few people reported it so far and it only happened once or twice to them, so it’s not that bad. Something to keep in mind, it’s not going to work too well on public Wi-Fi and it doesn’t work over LTE.
Now the straight up bad and disappointing. The 4K “works”, but it just doesn’t feel or really look like 4K. In general Stadia doesn’t feel nearly as crisp and clear as playing on a console or PC. The input lag is, for most, very noticable in fast-paced games, which doesn’t need an explanation as to why it is a problem.
Also, the games that are available for it. First of all, they’re very limited, 22 at launch, only one is a new game and the rest you probably already finished. The games that are available are sold at full retail prices, and I’m not sure how many people really want to buy a game they already own and played.
Talking about owning something, that’s still a problem. You don’t own anything (well, besides the controller and chrome cast), you pay a one-time fee to gain access to something that Google can decide to remove at any point for any reason. Even better yet, if Google decides Stadia isn’t commercially viable, they’ll just delete everything, who cares how much money you spent on it.
As it currently is, Stadia is a closed beta and it’s hard to recommend it to anyone. Most of the things that are missing we already knew that they won’t be available at launch, it’s a long list of things that are “coming soon” or “will be available in 2020”.
And with that in mind, maybe it’s best we just don’t think about Stadia for a while and wait for it to actually launch, since the free version will be just fine for most people.