Google Stadia: A SuperParent Guide

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023 7:51 am

Everything you need to know about this video game streaming platform.

Editor’s Update (02/14/2023): Google Stadia was shut down on January 18, 2023. Players can read answers to frequently asked questions about the shut down on Google’s Support website. These questions include information about refunds players may be eligible to receive on their past purchases.

Original Story:

Google Stadia is a game streaming platform that utilizes cloud streaming but acts like a bespoke gaming console.

Here’s what you need to know about Google Stadia.

What is Google Stadia? How does it work?

Stadia is functionally a virtual gaming console. Unlike streaming software that requires owning games on other platforms or offering a rotating library, Stadia runs on its own individual game purchases. This means for all intents and purposes, you “own” games you buy on Stadia for as long as the service exists.

Players can access Stadia on a number of different platforms, from smartphones to Android and Google Smart TVs. You can also simply run Stadia from a Google Chrome browser tab on your computer.

While many bluetooth controllers are compatible, Stadia customers can also purchase a specific Stadia controller, which uses its own Wi-Fi connection to (theoretically) reduce input latency.

How much does Google Stadia cost?

Customers have two options for Stadia. There’s the free version, which lets you buy games and use the service at no additional cost. This allows streaming at up to 1080p, with standard audio settings.

For $9.99 a month you can subscribe to Stadia Pro, which allows for 4K, HDR, and surround sound. Also, similar to Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus, a Stadia Pro membership comes with an ongoing stream of access to games you can play without buying them. This access will end if you cancel your Stadia Pro subscription. You can view the full list of available games here (note that some are rated M for Mature by the ESRB).

Ubisoft+ subscriptions can also be connected to Stadia. Check out our Ubisoft+ guide here.

Is there anything else parents need to know about Google Stadia?

Stadia has a very robust parental control system, which works through Google family groups. You can create a Google account for your child as part of the “Family,” and oversee it from there. You can set up payment methods, approvals for purchases, security allowances, multiplayer access, and ratings privileges.

Parental controls also apply to Stadia Pro. If your child wants to claim one of the free games for their library, they will have to request approval even if the game in question clears ratings restrictions.

Full documentation on Google family groups and Stadia interactions can be found here.

It’s also important to note that Google Stadia requires a stable, high-speed internet connection to function. Weaker connections will lead to issues like lag or resolution dips, significantly hampering the experience. And high-speed streaming soaks up a ton of data, taking up to 12.6 GB/hour for 1080p. That number only goes up with higher performance options.

For more information on Google Stadia, visit the official website.

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