Pre-E3 is underway and Google is using the time to break out lots of information regarding the cloud gaming platform Stadia. The stream featured game announcements, but if you’re wondering how you can access the platform, there are two main ways to play games with Stadia. Also, early adopters can get their foot in the door with a founder’s pack that’s now available for pre-order.
The two versions of Google Stadia are Base and Pro. The two have different ways to access games and also change what level of visual and aural quality you’ll be able to achieve. Stadia Base access is free and operates more like purchasing a traditional home gaming console. If you want to play games on the platform, you purchase them individually, and they can be played whenever you like. The max resolution for Base is 1080p, and the games can run at 60 frames per second. The sound in Base is limited to stereo as well. The platform’s FAQ says “purchasing an individual controller does not entitle you to Stadia access” and, to play Stadia in 2019, “you’ll need to purchase a bundle.” The only bundle available in the founder’s pack and the other option in the Google store is the Stadia controller. More bundles will likely be revealed in the future.
Stadia Pro is $10 per month and allows you to purchase games individually in addition to accessing a library of games that will grow over time and will not require additional purchases. Resolution for Pro maxes out at 4K and also can run at 60FPS with 5.1 surround sound enabled. The first game coming to the library that Pro users can access is Destiny 2: The Collection. This version of the game includes the base game, all previous expansions including Forsaken, the new Shadowkeep expansion, and the annual pass for that expansion. Bungie hosted a stream of its own for Shadowkeep and other Destiny 2-related announcements, including the official reveal of cross-platform saves. This means that Destiny 2 players using different platforms can continue their progress on Stadia.
If you’re hoping to be a part of the first wave of Google Stadia players, the company revealed a founder’s pack to get the ball rolling for you and a friend. The Stadia founder’s pack includes a Chromecast Ultra, a limited-edition Night Blue Stadia controller, a chance to get one of the first Stadia usernames, three months of Stadia Pro, and a buddy pass that gives a friend three months of Pro. It costs $130 and is available for pre-order now. Chromecast Ultra allows players to stream Stadia titles at 4K and plugs into televisions via the HDMI port. When Stadia launches in November, it will be available in 14 countries: The U.S., U.K., Belgium, Finland, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. The platform will expand to other regions throughout 2020.
The launch games for Google Stadia include Destiny 2, The Division 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, and more. Additional controllers for Google Stadia cost $70 and come in three color schemes: White, black, and wasabi green. The Stadia also supports PS4 and Xbox One controllers along with mouse and keyboard.