The new Google Stadia is a streaming platform that does not require a high-end gaming box. It only needs fast internet. It is expected to launch is November 2019.
There are two tiers, the $9.99 one offers 4K60 support. Games have to be purchased mostly at full price. The free tier supports 1920×1080 and both tiers have free games in addition to commercial titles.
The controller and gamepad cost $99.00 which includes Chromecast capability etc.
This model is quite different one from the console and PC gaming today. At present games are sold historically on disks but now direct download is more popular due to lower distribution costs.
The streaming model has been discussed in the media for several years but now Google is stepping up with a service. It remains to be seen how viable the streaming business will be with game licensing costs vs revenue.
Stadia will to require at least 10 Mbps for 720p 60 FPS Stereo, 20 Mbps for 1080p HDR Video 60 FPS 5.1 Surround, and 35 Mbps for 4K HDR Video 60 FPS 5.1 Surround.
A big problem is internet caps on usage which will currently affects Netflix and other services. Many ISPs offer internet packages with a data cap. However, streaming Stadia games at 4K would require a 35 Mbps connection, which means it could take about 63.5 hours to burn through a terabyte of data. In other words, Stadia likely won’t play well with existing data caps.
VS XBOX SCARLETT
The new Xbox is code named Project Scarlett is not due until next year but it is designed to cost $180 for a unit. With locally hosted games, the bandwidth is negligible compared to streaming. This reduces internet costs dramatically compared to Stadia even when games have to be downloaded.
The typical PC ATX gaming box today has room for 4 hard disks and the SSD is now mounted on the motherboard so the machine can boot fast and disks are useful for game collections and media libraries etc. With four 14 TB hard disks in addition to the 2TB SSD gives a PC gaming box a lot of resources.
The ATX gaming box motherboard can be replaced so it’s completely open ended compared to a console. The Corsair AX860i has cables for even the most elite X570 motherboards with dual EPS12V while it also has 6 PCI Express cables for video cards available. The Radeon VII needs dual 8-pin power cables to handle the power demands.
Video cards constantly evolve as AMD and nVidia compete for king of the hill. The Radeon VII is the current flagship for AMD while the expensive RTX Titan is the nVidia flagship.
PC Gaming is not all that expensive in the long run. Overhauls can be a bit costly when moving from DDR3 to DDR4 etc but its limited to CPU, motherboard and RAM while the hard disks, chassis and PSU remain. Incremental upgrades are very common. Video card upgrades are common in the mainstream as old cards are replaced as frequently as every 2 years. Extreme video cards are replaced less frequently.
PC VS STADIA
Given the cost of Stadia is not such a good bargain is likely to not see many jump on board from the PC camp. While Stadia has lot of free games, the PC game world is astronomically larger. PC games tend to be less costly compared to consoles and Stadia is not intending to offer lower prices.