Google has pressed play on its Stadia streaming cloud-based game console. On Thursday it announced plans to launch the platform in November, backed by some of the top publishers such as Ubisoft, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, and TakeTwo Interactive Software.
The goal is to bring gamers around the world into “one global community,” said Phil Harrison, vice president of Stadia at Google, during a press event.
Gamers will have an option to play across devices, such as PCs, laptop and Pixel smartphones, and televisions because the platform is server-based rather than platform-based, which also will likely make it easier to target advertisements.
It also will make it easier for game developers. Swen Vincke, founder of Larian Studios, said gamers will be able to play titles at the highest-quality settings because “Stadia is democratic, in a sense -- it doesn’t differentiate what platform you’re playing it on because everything is server based.”
Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook reportedly have plans to make a similar move. Some are expected to announce plans at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles beginning Saturday.
Perhaps the ease of storage in the cloud and the growth forecast in the market has spurred the focus on gaming. IHS Markit expects the market to grow from $234 million in 2018 to $1.5 billion by 2023.
Google’s gaming platform will launch with about 20 titles, but the Stadia Founders Edition for $129.99 will become the only package. It will come with a controller, a Chromecast Ultra, a three-month subscription to the paid service, and a three-month pass for a friend.
Stadia Pro, a paid service, will cost $9.99 per month and will give players access to 4K images at 60 frames per second. A selection of free games, such as Bungie Destiny 2, including all expansions and a new add-on, will become the first, and discounts on select game purchases.
Stadia Base, a free model with resolutions only to 1080p, will launch next year. Those users also will need to buy a Stadia controller for $69.