Google Stadia - Technology win, consumer fail
You could well and truly consider me an early adopter. As soon as new technology comes around I'm there at the front of the queue snapping it up.
Google Stadia was no different. I snagged a founders edition... My first gripe. It arrived 2 days after release.
So what's in the box you ask??
A note from Stadia team
A Google Chromecast Ultra
1 Stadia controller
Charger for Stadia controller
Setting up the Chromecast was pretty straightforward, I already have a few home connected devices so adding to Google Home was as simple as plugging it in, opening the app, registering the device and adding it to my chosen room.
User experience win for the Chromecast install!
Next is the Stadia controller setup, and the subject of my next gripe...
In order to set up your controller, you need to add it to Stadia, to add it to Stadia you need your Stadia invite code...
While having received my hardware I'd not actually received my invite which as a founder should have arrived pre-hardware. 12hrs later it arrived but not after a lengthy wait in the Google support queue.
Seems I was not the only one in this position!
So invite finally received the Stadia Controller was pretty easy to install if using your PC/Smartphone to play plug it in with a USB Cable (a bit disappointing that a cable is required here!). The Chromecast is the best user experience though, simply turn on the controller and your Chromecast displays a sequence, press that sequence and voila.
Playing games on Stadia is really a glimpse of the future of gaming, there is absolutely no noticeable difference between playing on Stadia and gameplay on my PS4, I experienced no controller lag, no jitter. to be honest, it was mighty impressive, I can see Stadia being my go-to platform for gaming due to its portability, quick loading of new games (no need to download) and performance (a datacentre will always outperform a physical console).
So after my free 3-month subscription will I be signing up?
At this moment, no, I won't.
The teething problems were inevitable, they can be forgiven, the startling lack of content currently available though makes me wonder what will keep me playing in 3 months time? Unless Stadia bring out some true triple-A titles there's little to no reason for me to continue the service, essentially £8.99 a month to play Destiny 2 and Samurai Showdown, a game I already have on the PS4 and, a shit Street Fighter clone.
And then there's the cost. Games are MORE expensive than on the PS4.
Red Dead Redemption on PS4 = £44.99 (with PS Plus)
Red Dead Redemption on Stadia = £54.99 (no Stadia Pro* discount)
It's unfortunate, I can see the value of an always up to date gaming platform that has massive scaling capabilities so those 1000+ gamer multiplayer sessions are a reality. And no doubt that the effort Google has made with Stadia is remarkable. That said, with Microsoft's cloud platform on the horizon, is Stadia's demise already on the horizon?
*Stadia Pro is the monthly subscription service for Stadia, similar to Playstation Plus.
UPDATE: Oh Stadia, tease me with Grid. A beautiful looking game which shows flashes of what the platform is capable of and then this happens... Not once, not twice but every single time the game tries to save. Call into Stadia support ended.with me either calling the publisher or getting a refund. Refund it is.