The set-up was simple. On a white table laid 2 white Stadia controllers, a cell-phone (Which we did not get to demo), and a laptop hooked up to a mounted television. Some PR folk from Google, as well as WB Games, were in the room and they asked us what games we would like to try first. I quickly jumped at the opportunity to play Mortal Kombat 11, not just to show off my newly-minted Kollector, but to also put Stadia through its paces with a game that demanded low latency and precise input. We simply clicked on the Mortal Kombat 11 icon almost as one would do on an open tab on google chrome and voila, we were instantly booting up the game. Although the game did look a tad washed out, the input was pretty much spot-on and I navigated through the menu with no incident.
I selected my Kollector and my colleague O’Dell selected Scorpion. I was asked if Kollector was my main and I emphatically said yes at which point her face flushed with initial shock; she said she rarely sees Kollector being chosen as a number 1. I felt I had something to prove. Once the match started, I had to acclimate to the Stadia controller and its smooth surface. It’s a great feeling gamepad and I instantly took to it as muscle memory kicked in and I completely eviscerated O’Dell’s poor scorpion. It was at this point, during the 2nd round that I realized how quickly I had forgotten I was playing on what was essentially just a browser being mirrored on a TV. It felt surprisingly natural. While it wasn’t 100% lag-free, what little lag there was barely hindered my gameplay experience and I was in awe of this accomplishment. It is even more impressive that a game like Mortal Kombat 11 performed extremely well with no hiccups whatsoever.
We played a few more matches before we changed lanes and demoed Doom Eternal. This was my first time playing Doom Eternal. Again, Stadia passed with flying colors as I was able to run around, shoot enemies, perform deadly executions all without any interruptions and buttery-smooth frame rates. We were assured that gamers can expect to play games running at 720p/60fps with a minimum speed of 10mpbs which is quite remarkable and at higher speeds gamers should expect a crackling 4k/60fps performance. We also asked if Stadia could be used in public WiFi spaces such as coffee shops and parks and were told as long as the connection is fast enough, we should be able to enjoy Stadia as it was meant to be. This excites me as I can practice with my nearly infallible Kollector on the go and deliver crushing blows to whoever challenges. I’m taking challengers now by the way and If I meet any of you in a Starbucks in November when Stadia launches, beware!
When Stadia was first unveiled a few months back, many people were justifiably skeptical of its capabilities but since then, Google has done a tremendous job in delivering information and letting folks like myself and O’Dell go hands-on. The best way to buy into Stadia is to try Stadia and we sure did and I’m a firm believer now. Maybe Stadia doesn’t fit into my overall gaming routine but one thing is for certain: it works remarkably well. We’ll just have to see if it delivers on the exclusives front.
Google Stadia is slated to launch on November 2019 in the US, UK, Europe and Canada.