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Google Stadia Service Coming in November

Just in time for Black Friday. What a coincidence…

Google announced back in March that it would be formally throwing its hat into the gaming ring with the Stadia, an as-of-then unspecified game streaming service. Google gave some additional details on the service yesterday, and it’s not quite what everyone was assuming it would be.

Stadia works through a Chromecast plugged into a TV. Aside from the controller (which’ll run you $70), there’s no external hardware; all games are streamed from the cloud. You should be able to play games at any modern connection speed, though obviously the quality of the graphics and such will depend on your exact speed.

Games will be available both as individual purchases and from a free subscriber catalog. Currently announced games include existing titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and DOOM, as well as upcoming games like Baldur’s Gate 3. More games, new and old, will be gradually rolled out over the months. Incidentally, it’s one Stadia account per user. There’s splitscreen, but otherwise, no sharing (at least not at first; Google says family sharing will come later).

Stadia will initially launched in November, starting with the paid Stadia Pro service at $10 a month. There will also be a free version of the service available later on, but only Pro members will get 4K resolution and 60 FPS. The initial release will also feature a Founder’s Edition pack, which includes a Chromecast Ultra, a Stadia controller, a three-month Pro subscription, a three-month buddy pass, and a copy of Destiny 2. At the service’s initial launch the Founder’s Pack will be the only way to play until things get rolling for real, likely in early 2020. If you don’t have a game console, but do have a reliable internet connection, the Stadia may actually prove to be a viable middle ground, provided they can secure some high-profile ports. They’ve already got DOOM Eternal lined up, so I’d call that a good sign.