Getting by with a little help from its friends: For many, Google's Stadia game-streaming service is a hard sell. Gaming from the cloud has met with limited success even for companies that have had a head start like Sony and Gamefly. But what if it was bundled with your TV or internet service? This appears to be the search giant's next strategy to get Stadia into your home.
United Kingdom provider BT Broadband has partnered with Google to offer customers internet service packages bundled with Stadia. Now when people subscribe to BT’s Superfast Fibre 2, Ultrafast Fibre 100, or Ultrafast Fibre 250, they will receive Stadia Premiere Edition for free. The plans start at £40.
Google’s Stadia Premiere Edition regularly lists for £120. It includes three months of Stadia Pro, a Chromecast Ultra, Stadia controller, and Destiny 2: The Collection. Presumably, at the end of three months, £9 will be tacked on to your bill to continue your Stadia Pro subscription, although the company’s press release did not mention this point.
Stadia requires a connection speed of at least 35Mbps for 4K gaming. BT’s Superfast Fibre 2, which is the most widely available package, averages 67Mbps, which is theoretically sufficient so long as the network does not get bogged down.
The ISP is still rolling out Ultrafast Fibre 100 and Fibre 250, so it is only available in limited areas, but the company claims it is on track to connect to more than 12 million homes by the end of the year. These packages offer speeds between 145Mbps and 300Mbps, with a guarantee to stay above 100Mbps (Fibre 100) or 150Mbps (Fibre 250). BT will refund customers £20 if their connection drops below these thresholds.
The partnership is another step by Google to push its game streaming service into the mainstream. Since launch, it has been adding more games to the service with a promise of more than 120 coming in 2020. It has also been snatching up developers so it can start churning out first-party titles. Its latest acquisition was Typhoon Studios, which is working on Journey to the Savage Planet.
Game streaming still has not proven itself to be a better alternative to owning hardware. However, that is not stopping Google from pouring resources into the platform to get it there.