Google Stadia wants to revolutionize the way you play video games, eliminating the need to buy powerful hardware or even download games. Instead, it provides instant access to the seconds you want to play them.
However, Stadia is not alone in this area. It has many rivals, and one of the most formidable ones is Nvidia’s GeForce Now service. Nvidia’s replacement has received a lot of press, both good and bad, in recent months. Is it a serious replacement? Let’s find out!
Google’s Stadia is available across a wide variety of devices, although the way you access it differs from device to device.
On Windows, MacOS, or Chromebook, you can access Stadia by going to stadia.google.com in a Chromium-based web browser, like Google Chrome or the new Microsoft Edge.
To play on TV, Google recommends using the Chromecast Ultra, which requires a $ 69 Stadia Controller. You can also connect your computer via HDMI cable and use almost any wired or Bluetooth game controller – Google’s Stadia Controller isn’t required.
Meanwhile, Nvidia GeForce Now has a similar set of devices, even though Nvidia offers desktop software for MacOS and Windows. If you want to play on a Chromebook, there’s a web app for that.
On your mobile device, you’ll find the Play Store apps for Android and Shield devices. Nvidia bypasses the strict App Store rules by offering the Safari web app for iPhone and iPad, just like Stadia.
Winner: Google Stadia. You don’t need to download software on Windows and MacOS machines, and you don’t need to trick Chrome into playing browser games like GeForce Now.
Controller support depends on the base device, but in general you can use DualShock 4, Xbox One controller and Xbox Adaptive Controller, as well as mouse and keyboard settings with both communication.
What really throws the wrench in control diagrams is a product of Google own. The Stadia controller uses Bluetooth to pair it with the Chromecast Ultra, but it reverted to Wi-Fi for gaming. That means it can only is used on other devices via a USB connection. Likewise, you can’t use Bluetooth or a wired controller with Chromecast Ultra.
Right now, Google is working on a Tandem Mode feature that basically allows third-party controllers to “piggyback” paired Stadia Controllers so you can use them with the Chromecast Ultra. In other words, you should connect your PC to your TV and simply use a paired Bluetooth controller that you might already own.
Nvidia GeForce Now supports mouse and keyboard setup and most Bluetooth controllers on a wide variety of devices – even on a Chromebook. The controls must work on wired or wireless connections. For the most part, you can expect any The PC-compatible controller also works with GeForce Now.
Winner: Nvidia GeForce Now. In fact, this would be a draw, but the freaky things surrounding the Stadia Controller left us a little bitter.
When you’re ready to start streaming your game, you’ll have to figure out the stream resolution and quality that are crucial to your experience. Google Stadia says it can surpass Nvidia GeForce Now by a significant margin, offering 4K resolution with HDR and 60 fps.
The capabilities of the Nvidia GeForce Now aren’t impressive on paper, as service is limited to 1080p (or lower) resolutions and 60 frames per second. At this point, there is no way to play games at 4K on the Nvidia GeForce Now service. It do supports RTX ray tracing, however, while Stadia does not.
GeForce Now doesn’t support resolutions beyond 1080p which is an issue if you have a 1440p or 4K display. The difference in sharpness between Stadia and GeForce Now is extremely noticeable, in favor of Stadia. Heaven helps if the GeForce Now stream buffers down to 720p while you’re in 4K mode. The results are a bit similar to downloading an original PlayStation 2 game on a modern HDTV.
However, if you play at 1080p, the services will be tough. I spent a lot of time with these services during my month of cloud gaming. I think Stadia looks a bit nicer, but GeForce Now is more reliable, in part because it’s aggressive in reducing stream quality to prevent potential glitches.
Winner: Stadia. Google’s cloud game service supports higher resolutions and HDR.
Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now are cloud game services, but they handle games differently.
In short, Stadia is like having a console. You buy a game and can only play it on that device, just like Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However, you have nothing to download and install – all games stream from the cloud at no extra charge.
But like the Xbox Game Pass, Google offers a Pro subscription service for $ 10 / month, adding to a list of games you can play “for free” as long as you keep your subscription. You also get discounts on games and upgrades to 4K resolution. Any game you buy can be shared with your family, just like sharing Android apps on the Play Store via Family Sharing.
Currently, Google offers more than 200 games in its library, some of which are exclusively registered. Including Cyberpunk 2077, Destiny 2, Borderlands 3, Destroy all human beings, Baldur’s Gate 3, and more. However, since you can’t play these games locally on Xbox or PlayStation, you’re basically building a new library and that’s bad if you already own these games.
GeForce Now takes a different approach. It’s not a “cloud panel” with a walled garden like Stadia. Instead, Nvidia’s services are tied to the platforms you already use, like Steam, Epic Store, or Uplay. It’s the middleman of the kind, pulling your purchased games from your library and streaming them from Nvidia’s servers to almost any device you own.
That is a benefit. That means your existing game library is compatible with GeForce Now, and if you unsubscribe from GeForce Now, you can continue playing those games on your PC. GeForce Now also supports more games, in fact hundreds of games, including some of the most popular games on Steam, like Warframe and Ark: Survival Evolved.
But Nvidia’s GeForce Now has endured an unfortunate departure. First Activision-Blizzard, then Bethesda, then 2K Games withdrew titles from the service – to be more precise, withdrawal. Even so, GeForce Now still supports a wide selection of games and still supports some popular PC titles.
Winner: Nvidia GeForce Now. It supports more games and you can instantly enjoy compatible games that you already own.
Pricing and availability
This is where the dividing line really cuts deep.
Google Stadia is free to use. The only requirement is to buy a game, which is streamed to devices at 1080p. The $ 10 / month Pro subscription takes the resolution to 4K and adds a library of “free” games to your roster. The only limitation, of course, is that you’re building another library of games.
Nvidia’s GeForce Now service is also free to use. The big hurdle with this plan, however, is that you are placed in extremely long queues and by the time your position is ready, you only have an hour of play. For “privileged access” and “extended” session lengths, you’ll need to upgrade to the Founders plan that costs $ 25 for six months. Ray tracing is also enabled.
Google Stadia is available in the US and most European countries including France, Germany and the UK Nvidia GeForce Now available in the United States, Europe, Korea, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan.
Winner: Google Stadia. Sure, you have to buy the game, but avoiding long wait times and limited number of streaming sessions make it a better choice.
Google Stadia vs. Nvidia GeForce Now: Who wins?
So let’s do the math. You buy Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia for $ 60, and you can stream for free – with no waiting times, no sessions. You buy the same game on Steam and you have to queue up for an hour’s session using GeForce Now. Choosing the Founder’s plan is around $ 5 per month cost but you still have to wait in line and face the session length. You also don’t get the 4K boost seen in Stadia Pro.
Winners are easier to pick at once because Google Stadia is relatively new. We are now entering the year 2021 and this platform is harder to ignore. Both services have their strengths and weaknesses, but there’s no arguing that, if you bought it Doom Eternal on Steam, you really don’t want to repurchase it on Stadia just to stream it to a damaged machine. That is Nvidia’s greatest strength.
But seriously, when we launch a game on a PC or console, it’s bad we have to wait for the actual game download. We want to play it The current. One of the big benefits of cloud gaming is that you can do it faster, and you don’t have to wait a week to download and install a Gigamax-sized patch. But queuing up to play our purchased game and being limited in the amount of time we could play it was not that fun, even if we paid a monthly fee.
With one click, you can play your game on Google Stadia – no time limit. It even supports 4K and HDR, something that GeForce Now doesn’t. That could make Stadia a better choice if you have a 4K HDR TV.
So, what is the answer? If you’re not afraid to build a new library, Google Stadia is a good choice. If you don’t want to buy the game again, you don’t mind standing in line and being told how long you can play, then GeForce Now might be the better choice for you.
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