Google Stadia arrives in the fall, as Google dives headfirst into the streaming hype by bringing its own game subscription service entirely sustained by cloud gaming. Despite the many unanswered questions about how Stadia will work for gamers, Google decided not to host a beta before the fall 2019 launch.
This year, Google Stadia will launch in Spain, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the U.K., Germany, and the U.S. There’s surely a lot of internal, controlled testing taking place as we get closer to the launch but Google’s only live test will have happened a year prior to when Stadia arrives.
Last year, Google partnered with Ubisoft and quietly tested the Stadia platform under the code name Project Stream. Gamers interested in trying out the game streaming service could sign up to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for free via their Google Chrome browsers. The test ran from October 2018 to January 2019, and users walked away with a free copy of Odyssey in exchange for their participation.
“It was unfortunate that we only ran the Project Stream test in the U.S., and even then it was only a relatively small subset of players, but you’ve all experienced it for yourselves and you know it works,” Harrison told GamesRadar. “Geographically, the U.S. is the most complex place to test; just because of the size of the country. And actually, Europe — and particularly the U.K. — are … relatively easier to launch. So we are not going to do another test in the U.K. or Europe. If we had time we probably would have done so, but we don’t need to.”
Compared to other countries, the U.S. is among the worst when it comes to internet speed, affordability, and choice of internet service providers (ISPs). Despite this, a launch across 14 countries is a different monster entirely and even if Google were to do a public beta test there are bound to be issues when a service is rolled out to a larger user base. This might explain why Google has decided to limit Stadia access this year to those who purchase the Founder’s Bundle — a product that is only being offered to a limited audience — but we’ll see come launch whether or not this decision works out for them.
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- Google says Stadia is not Netflix for games, more like Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus
- EA confirms it’s still considering its own game streaming platform