Unfortunate Public Perception Setting Stadia Back – This Is a Good Product
Because of a rough launch, and a minimal number of available games, the launch of Google Stadia has been anything but good. Issues with games not loading, issues with graphic quality during streams, games quitting suddenly – it wasn’t pretty. Add to that the seemingly underwhelming selection of games, and the high entry price point (unless joining via a Buddy Pass), and you have a pretty rough launch.
And that is unfortunate, because almost two months later, and Google Stadia really is a great product, with decent value attached. Usually Google sends us hardware to review, but my Google Stadia was purchased by myself, and was not given to me free from Google. And I’ll openly admit for roughly a month, I wrestled with whether or not I wanted to keep my Google Stadia, or return it. I opted to return it, only to find out my return window had closed, and I was stuck with the product.
Could I have fought with Google for a full refund? Probably, but one boring evening at home led to me unboxing the device, and now I was officially on the hook for the $192.00 post tax investment. And what an investment it was. Is it pricey to get in on the ground floor? Absolutely, but the value in the box cannot be understated.
Included with your Google Stadia bundle is a Stadia controller, Chromecast Ultra, charge cable, 3 months of Stadia Pro, and two (advertised as one) Buddy Passes to share with friends, to give them 3 months of access to Stadia Pro. Right off the bat, from when I opened up the device, four games were available free via Stadia Pro, one of which – Destiny 2 – I’d never played before. Let’s break down the cost in Canadian dollars (not on sale):
Controller: the average video game controller in Canada retails for 64.99, so after adding our 13% tax in Ontario, we are looking at $73.00.
Chromecast Ultra: the Ultra via Best Buy Canada is $90.00, so after adding 13% tax in Ontario, we are looking at $102.00.
Stadia Pro: In Canada, the Stadia Pro pricing is $11.99. If it gets the same breaks as other media streaming companies like Netflix and Disney, tax is not added to that amount, making 3 months of Stadia Pro worth about $36.00.
Let’s forget the Buddy Passes (worth $36.00 each) for a second here, and just focus on what you’ll get, independently. That is a value of roughly $211.00 for the entry price of $192.00. Not bad, all things considering. And, you get to access Stadia prior to everyone else, when the free version of the service launches later in 2020.
Is Google Stadia without it’s flaws? Of course not – sure, I want to see more games on the service. Sure, I’d like to see more games offered via Stadia Pro. Is X-Cloud from Microsoft going to be better? It could be, especially since they have a HUGE pre-established library. But was Stadia worth my $192.00 investment. Absolutely.
Being able to go anywhere and play my games is extraordinary. Pulling out my Google Pixel 4 at work on lunch breaks to play Borderlands 3 is mind blowing. And outside of the random hiccups in game play, my Stadia performance game in and game out has been fantastic. And before anyone assumes I’m playing on killer speeds, think again. I live in the boonies of Ontario, with 40 mbs down. And my games run fine, even on the highest possible settings.
Don’t sleep on Stadia because it’s cool to rag on Google and their unfortunate launch. And don’t just rely on those Day 1 or Week 1 reviews either. The services has improved – educate yourself. Want to wait for X-Cloud? Go ahead, that services is probably going to be awesome! But if you want a great experience now, with great functionality, don’t sleep on Stadia. It’s going places.