The primary technical hurdle such services face is latency, or the delay that happens when player inputs are sent to data centres that are potentially hundreds of kilometres away, as opposed to the few metres that separate controllers from consoles in more traditional gaming environments. For now, let's just take a look at the key points surrounding what Google is calling "the future of gaming". Up until today, very little was known about the actual details of the service.
La Presse reported that Stadia will launch in November with a Stadia Pro subscription through which players can stream certain titles at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second in exchange for $12 CAD per month. "Enjoy gaming the way you love with beautiful HDR graphics and smooth framerates".
One of the burning questions over Stadia was if it would follow an entirely subscription based model such as Netflix for access to its games. That subscription will get you "regular content" added to your library, and will support Stadia's highest quality level: 4K, HDR, 60fps. Destiny 2 was all the buzz and honestly, the fact that Bungie is onboard is enough to get my attention.
Stadia was rumoured for more than a year, having previously been called Project Yeti. Games not included in the subscription will have to be purchased separately at their retail cost. They've designed a dedicated Stadia controller that connects not to the device you're looking at, but directly to Google's servers via your Wi-Fi connection. Stadia Pro subscribers will get resolutions up to 4K and 5.1 surround audio.
At launch, Google Stadia will only support Chromecast hardware connected to a TV set.
There will be 31 games at launch. Instead, users will be able to purchase the games they want to play as they go at full price.
As for compatible devices, essentially anything that can access a Chrome browser is compatible, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet, and Pixel 3 devices (Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL included). Google has previously announced that they want to bring access to as many devices as possible, but for now this is a Google-only affair.
We still don't know exactly when Stadia is going to launch, but it will arrive in the following countries this November: the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
If Stadia Pro sounds too expensive, fear not.