Google Stadia Reviews Roundup

The future is now-ish, kinda.

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Google Stadia is almost here, marking a new entry in the gaming market from one of the biggest tech companies in the world. Google has taken a non-traditional approach with Stadia, rejecting powerful hardware in favor of what it poses as a revolutionary approach: streaming a live video feed of your game session as you play it on powerful remote servers.

The idea does sound futuristic, and indeed Google pitched the tech with sky-high ideas of what could eventually be accomplished by leveraging cloud technology into video games. Most of those features aren't available at launch, though, so the service is fairly bare-bones. Critics have begun chiming in with their own impressions, largely finding the concept more promising than the current execution.

"During roughly a week of tests, Stadia exhibited a lot of small pain points," Peter Brown wrote in GameSpot's review-in-progress. "I expected to not to have to sneer at sub-optimal latency, video compression artifacts, or wrestle with finicky software. Regrettably, I bumped into all of these issues on multiple occasions. I can play games for long periods of time under generally acceptable conditions, but it's all too easy to focus on the little annoyances that make Stadia feel like a less-than alternative to traditional console or PC gaming."

To get a view from around the industry, we've compiled several reviews below. For now, Google is sending out Founder's Editions to those who pre-ordered early, and you can still order a Premiere Edition. The full service is said to be launching more widely in 2020.

GameSpot

"So far, Google's tech has impressed me to the point where I would comfortably play most in a browser tab or on a phone without batting an eye, but then I consider that I will have to buy the vast majority of games, and I'm left in awe of the value Microsoft and Sony are offering, even if their overall services lack Stadia's flexibility. For the moment, cloud gaming still feels like a decent alternative to the real thing, and I don't think I'm ready to dedicate a full-price game purchase to a secondary platform." - Peter Brown [Full Review]

CNET

"Until Google finds a way to loop in YouTube and develop truly unique competitive large-scale games, Stadia isn't worth your time yet. Yes, the future is possibly wild, and you can see hints of the streaming-only cloud-based playground Stadia wants to become. But we'll see what it shapes into over the next handful of months and check back in." - Scott Stein [Full Review]

Engadget

"Game streaming is finally viable, and Stadia is leading the charge -- but with this launch, it's turning out to be more of a stroll. Hey, at least we're getting there." - Jessica Conditt [Full Review]

Forbes

"I may have been a Stadia skeptic going into this test run, but I was willing to give it a chance. But this has been a catastrophe from start to finish during my testing phase, and the problem is that even if it did work flawlessly, which it absolutely doesn’t, the entire model seemed doomed from the start. This is an enormous miss from Google, and I am really wondering what the fallout is going to be from this ill-conceived early launch." - Paul Tassi [Full Review]

Polygon

"Right now we just need a cloud-streaming service that works, and works well. I’m less concerned with the promises of the future than I am the realistic potential of tomorrow." - Chris Plante [Full Review]

The Verge

"There's no reason anyone should buy into Stadia right now. Google has made sure of that, partly by underdelivering at launch and partly with a pricing scheme that sees you paying three times (for hardware, for the service, for games) just to be an early adopter." - Sean Hollister [Full Review]

VentureBeat

"Meanwhile, Google is right that casual players don’t want to spend $300-to-$500 on consoles. But they also don’t want to spend $60 on software. Sure, they might buy Red Dead or FIFA. But that audience is used to getting games for free on mobile devices. So Google Stadia might work, but it doesn’t actually matter." - Jeff Grubb [Full Review]

Washington Post

"Stadia is absolutely paving a new sort of information highway for gaming. My advice today is to stay in your current lane until they finish that work." - Gene Park [Full Review]

Wired

"If you’re on the fence about investing $129 in an unproven service, you’re not alone. The Premiere Edition is basically for true believers who don't mind dropping serious money on what amounts to a pay-to-play beta test. When February rolls around and those free trials are offered, you should give it a shot. You might be surprised." - Jess Gray [Full Review]

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