Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service launched to the public in late November 2019 to both excitement and confusion. For US$130, customers get the Stadia controller, a Chromecast Ultra (for casting games to a TV), and three months of the Stadia Pro subscription service that enables 4K streaming and some free and discounted game offers. Google is one of the first cloud gaming services to come from a household tech giant name; Sony and nVidia have their own services already, with Xbox and some other notable names launching later. Some lesser known players have been active for a while, including Blacknut, Shadow, and Ubitus. Business models differ between these services, with some offering direct purchase of content within the platform and others allowing streaming for a user’s existing game library when possible. Stadia follows the former model, and is the first to grab significant attention mostly due to Google’s size and sway and the timing of launching early in the cloud gaming hype cycle.
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