Do You Really Need a Stadia Founder’s Pack on Launch Day?

Google announced this week that it will release its Stadia game streaming platform on November 19 . Hence, it’s time to sit down and consider if you really want to buy-in on Stadia launch day.

While the idea of ​​playing games on any PC, phone, TV, or other device sounds like a dream come true, Stadia’s promise contains many caveats, including the fact that you need to buy Stadia Founder’s Pack in order to use it on your TV (unless you plan on broadcast to PC). With that in mind, I think it’s fair to say that the decision to buy Stadia right now and the decision to buy Founder’s Pack are essentially the same question.

I can’t tell if Stadia is right for you or not, but it looks like now is a good time to discuss all the things you might not have known about if you only heard the speech in the elevator so that you can decide if or don’t go and put some money on the Founder’s Pack.

Wait: why would I play Founder’s Pack on my TV?

The idea behind Google Stadia is that players can connect a controller to any of their screens and start playing games through the platform. When Stadia comes out next month, that won’t happen. You will be able to play games on Mac and Windows PC through Chrome; Google Pixel phones 3 and 3A; Devices with Chrome OS; and a 4K-compatible Google Chromecast Ultra streaming device.

This means that the only way to connect Stadia to your TV, home base of console games, is to purchase the Chromecast Ultra that comes with the Founder’s Pack, or connect your computer to your TV.

Even if you own a Chromecast Ultra, you’ll also need a Google Stadia controller to play Stadia games on it. It wasn’t always clear, but Google’s community manager recently confirmed it on Reddit .

So, you’ll need a Chromecast Ultra and a Stadia controller, at least at launch. Since the Stadia controller itself is $ 69 and the Chromecast Ultra is $ 69, most people would be best served by the Founder’s Pack, which costs $ 9 less than the two combined and gives you a few months of maintenance and some other services. goodies.

But what if I don’t plan on playing Stadia on my TV?

While your TV is likely the largest (and best) screen in your home for gaming, you can also stream Stadia games to your phone (if you have a Pixel 3 or 3A) or computer.

However, there are some limitations to play on these platforms. (Literally in some cases.) Google recently announced that the Stadia controller will only work wirelessly with the Chromecast Ultra at launch, and not with other devices. That means you’ll have to plug it in to play on PC and Pixel 3. You can now sync different gamepads to work wirelessly on other devices, but Google said third-party controllers will introduce additional input lag on startup. … I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t tell if this is a violation of the terms of the deal, but it might.

For me, the inability to play wirelessly is only a phone problem. Most of us sit close enough to our computers that the wire won’t get in the way – at least a big problem for a smartphone screen. Fortunately, this problem is not in the hands of most gamers right now, because Stadia only works on a handful of phones designed for Google.

Fine. I understand. What’s in the founder’s package?

The $ 129 Stadia Founder’s package includes a Chromecast Ultra, a Google Stadia controller, and three months of Stadia Pro, which you’ll also need to use the service. Stadia Pro, like Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation +, includes several free games, and players will receive Destiny 2 and all its add-ons on launch day. You also receive a gift card that you can use to give a friend three months of using the Stadia Pro.

By purchasing the Founder’s Pack, you can immediately log in and reserve your username, which may or may not matter if you have a descriptor that you want to use on many platforms.

For the price, the Stadia founder’s package isn’t a bad deal. $ 69 for the controller, $ 69 for the Chromecast, plus $ 60 for two 3-month subscriptions, is way above the asking price. But the reason you need the Founder’s Pack if you want to use Stadia at startup is because each of these components are more or less necessary to get the platform up and running in the best possible state. And that’s assuming your broadband is good enough for Stadia to work , which isn’t a fact.

Ok, wait. Will Stadia work?

We finally come to the million dollar question. As I said above, Stadia seems to have a lot of flaws when it comes to launch. Based on what Google said, it looks like a lot of these trade-offs and conditions will fall away during 2020. I have no doubt that Google will make Stadia work on all phones, and over time I expect them to. ”I will find ways to run it on TV directly or through other devices.

I definitely hope Google will solve all the Stadia issues with both the controller and third party gamepads. Additionally, Google has said it will eventually unlock a free Stadia tier that doesn’t require you to pay $ 9.99 a month, making the service much easier to use without forcing gamers to invest in a new platform. (Once the Free Tier is disabled, the Pro Tier will include certain high-end features such as 4K and surround sound support, and will provide you with a free game every month.)

I refer to November 19 as the launch date for Stadia because it is technically true, but it’s better to think of it as Stadia’s transition to Beta or Early Access. If I was guessing, I would say that the service will not peak in at least a year. For suckers and early adopters like me, it might be worth checking out Stadia because it’s weird, new and unfinished. However, if you chose it for convenience, I think you should take a close look at how you plan to use the Stadia before buying.

Update 10/17/2019 5:45 PM: We’ve updated this post to reflect the fact that the a la carte cost of the Stadia controller and Chromecast Ultra add up to more than the Stadia Founder’s Pack. …


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