Google has finally unveiled the prices that users will necessarily have to sustain in order to enjoy its streaming gaming platform, Stadia. Gamepad, monthly subscription for the 4K and new games at full price, it seems that you don't have to buy a console anymore. Stadia is the revolution we were waiting for.
Before you begin, I invite you to read all the information about Google Stadia in our dedicated article, but you should also make a quick summary of the costs announced by Google:
- $129 for the Stadia Founder's Edition, which includes a Chromecast Ultra, a limited edition Stadia controller, two three-month Stadia Pro subscriptions for you and a friend (BuddyPass), a choice of your username, a Founder's Badge and a free copy of Destiny 2
- $69 for the Stadia standalone controller if you do not already have a controller or compatible mouse and keyboard
- $10 per month for the subscription to Stadia Pro that gives you access to 4K HDR 60 fps streaming with 5.1 surround sound
- $60 for every AAA game purchased, although Pro subscribers will be able to play some free titles
- $0 for Stadia Basic, which allows you to stream games at a maximum resolution of 1080p at 60 fps with stereo sound
In short, analyzing this list, Google Stadia does not seem so cheap compared to buying a normal console (or for those who already own one). In fact, five years of subscription to Stadia Pro would cost $600, a price higher than the purchase of a PS4 or Xbox One. If you add the cost of hardware and games, how can you justify these figures without owning a console?
That's where the beauty comes from
Let's start by saying that everyone already owns a good part, if not all, of the hardware needed to use Stadia. Are you reading this article on a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone? Congratulations, there's your console! In short, for a start, the $129 Founder's Edition is tempting, but not mandatory.
Stadia Pro, on the other hand, not only gives you access to the platform itself, but to a constant stream of free games, giving it a certain overlap with Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus subscriptions. All these services cost $10 per month (or $60 per year) and allow you to play online and receive some free games every month, but, once again, Stadia wins over all. Just a little bit of elementary mathematics is all it takes...
Suppose you bought a console at the end of 2013, when both Xbox One and PS4 came out, then we consider an annual expense of $60 for the subscription to Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus. Apart from games, controllers or other expenses, owning a PS4 for five years would cost $700, or $800 in the case of an Xbox One. You see where I'm going with this, right?
Not only that: in the period following the release of Xbox One and PS4, both Sony and Microsoft have introduced a new version of their hardware to allow users to play in 4K HDR. Xbox One X was released in 2017, while PS4 Pro was released even earlier in November 2016. As a result, as the updated hardware cost as much as the previous one, several users found themselves spending between 800 and 1000 dollars in a few years to remain at the forefront.
Yes, I know, you may have sold your old console, but I don't think you've gotten a very good trade-in value.
For PC gamers, it is even worse
On a PC, the problem is even more serious in view of the hardware updates needed to keep up with the times. You could save money by buying cheaper components, but if you want to get maximum processing power online with Google Stadia, you'll know you'll have to pay a lot of money. Just think of the latest generation of NVIDIA graphics cards, which cost as much as a new console.
With Stadia you will get rid of this kind of problem, because there will never be any hardware to update. All you have to do is pay a monthly fee to always get the best quality. In addition, Sony promises that the next console will support 8K resolution and ray tracing in real time, while Stadia, on the other hand, will update support for these specifications without users having to do anything.
Will Google charge more for better quality games in the future? We can't rule it out, but by doing a couple of calculations, even if it were to choose this kind of strategy, Stadia would become much more expensive even before you've ever reached the real cost of a constantly updated console.
Stadia Basic is convincing enough already
It would be easy to assume that Stadia Pro is just one way to milk money from users who ignore the calculation of the total cost of a monthly subscription. What is completely out of the question, however, is the fact that Stadia Basic is putting the brakes on the entire video game industry. We can discuss the price of controllers or anything else, but the free version of Stadia still allows you to play AAA games.
Of course, Stadia is not the first service in the world to offer an inexpensive gaming platform. Steam, Epic Store, GOG and others also offer great free titles from time to time, but we always go back to the starting point, which is owning the necessary hardware.
Finally, making AAA games accessible to people who have never been able to afford such expensive hardware is one of the most interesting options, but it will be equally interesting for those who already own it but need to save money.
Do you own a gaming console or PC? Would you be willing to abandon your hardware in favor of Stadia?