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Do you really need the Stage Founder Package on launch day?
This week, Google announced that Stadia, its game streaming platform, is coming out on November 19 . Therefore, it's time to sit down and think about whether you really want to buy for the Stadia launch day.
While the idea of playing games on any computer, phone, TV or other device sounds like a dream come true, Stadia's promise comes with many caveats, including the fact that you need to buy Pack of Stadia Founder to use on your TV (unless you plan to stream to a computer). With that in mind, I think it's fair to say that you decide to buy at Stadia right now and decide whether or not to buy a Founder Package is basically the same question.
I can't tell you if the Stage will be right for you or not, but it seems like a good time to look at all the things you may not know if you've only heard the footstep of the elevator so you can decide if you want to leave some money on the Founder's Pack.
Hold: Why do I need the Founder Pack to play on my TV? ] Mike Epstein ( Google )
The idea behind Google Stadia is that players can connect a controller to any screen and start playing games across the platform. When Stadia launches next month, that won't be the case. You will be able to play games on both Mac and Windows computers through Chrome; Google Pixel 3 and 3A Phones; Chrome OS devices; and Google's 4K-compatible Chromecast Ultra streaming device.
This means that the only way to connect a Stadia to your TV, the home base of console games, is to get the Chromecast Ultra that comes with the Founder & # 39; s package, or to connect your computer to your TV.  Even if you have a Chromecast Ultra, you will also need the Google Stadia controller to play Stadia games on it. This is not always clear, but recently the Google Community Manager confirmed this to Reddit .
So at least at launch you need the Chromecast Ultra and the Stadia controller. Since the Stadia controller itself is $ 69 and the Chromecast Ultra is $ 69, most people will best buy the Founder & # 39; s Pack, which costs $ 10 more than the two combined, and gets you a few months of service and some
But what if I didn't plan to play Stage on my TV? Mike Epstein ( Google )
While your TV is probably the largest (and best) screen in your gaming home, you can also stream Stadia games to your phone (if you have pixel 3 or 3A) or a computer.
However, playing games on these platforms comes with some strings. (Literally, in some cases.) Google recently revealed that the Stadia controller will only work wirelessly with Chromecast Ultra on startup and not other devices. That means you'll need to turn it on to play on PC and Pixel 3. You can now sync different gamepads to stay wireless on other devices, but Google said that non-Stadia controllers will create additional delay at the startup entrance, I haven't tried it yet, so I can't tell if it's a deal breaker, but it could be.
For me, the inability to play wireless is just a phone problem. Most of us sit close enough to our computers that the wire won't bother – a bigger problem on the smartphone screen. Fortunately, this issue is beyond the hands of most players, as Stadia only works on a few Google-specific phones.
Good. I understand. What's in the founder's packaging?
For $ 129, the Stadia founder package includes the Chromecast Ultra, a Google Stadia controller, and three months of the Stadia Pro, which you also need to use the service. The Stadia Pro, such as Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation +, includes some free games, and players will receive Destiny 2 and all its extensions on launch day. You also get a gift card that allows you to give your Stadia Pro three months to a friend.
When you purchase the Founder Pack, you will be able to log in and reserve your username right away, which may or may not matter to you if you have a handle that you want to use on many platforms.
When you price it, the Stadia founder package is not a bad deal. $ 69 for the controller, $ 69 for the Chromecast, plus $ 60 for two quarterly subscriptions is well above the asking price. But the reason you need the founder package, if you want to use Stadia at startup, is that each of these components is more or less necessary to launch the platform and run at its best. And this is the assumption that your broadband connection is good enough to drive Stadia which is not a given.
OK … waiting. Stage will work?
We finally came to the million dollar question. As I said at the top, it seems that Stage comes with a lot of warnings when launching. Based on what Google has said, it looks like many of these compromises and terms will drop in 2020. I have no doubt that Google will make Stadia work on all phones and over time I expect you will find ways to put it directly on TVs or using other devices.
I certainly hope Google resolves all the instability of the Stadia with both the controller and the gamepads of third parties. Google also said it would eventually open a free Stadia line, which does not require you to pay $ 9.99 a month, making the service much easier to try without forcing gamers to invest in a new platform. (Once the free layer is gone, Pro Layout will allow some high-level features like 4K support and surround sound, and give you free play every month.)
I mean November 19th as the Stadia launch date since this is technically true, but it's better to think that Stadia is in beta or "early access". If I assumed, I would say that the service will not reach its peak in at least one year from now. For suckers early adopters like me, it might be worth checking out Stage because it's weird, new and half baked. How ever, if you are in it for convenience, I think you will want to seriously consider how you plan to use the Stadia before you buy.