In 2019, Google finally launched its Stadia cloud gaming service. And if the initial offer of the Mountain View firm struggled to convince, little by little, it improves.
For example, with regard to the catalog, Google has promised 120 games, including some exclusives, before the end of the year. At the same time, the free version is still under development, and little by little, Stadia is coming to non-Pixel Android smartphones.
Regarding streaming games on computers, Google has also just specified the requirements to be able to play in 4K.
Cloud gaming in 4K
On its English-speaking help site (the French version has not yet been updated, at the time of writing), Google indicates that it is possible to play in 4K on Windows computers and Chromebooks that support loads VP9 hardware decoding. Of course, a 4K screen is also essential and the platform must be configured to display the "best visual quality".
Note that Google does not mention Macs. And according to our colleagues at Engadget, it is because Apple does not support VP9 on macOS (which also causes limitations on YouTube).
But, according to an article by 9to5Mac, it is still possible to get around this restriction on Apple machines by using an (unofficial) extension called "Stadia +".
However, it is still stated that support for HDR and 5.1 surround sound "will come soon".
As a reminder, when Google unveiled Stadia, it presented two offers: a free offer (but you still have to buy the games) and a paid offer (therefore, you have to buy the games and pay a Stadia Pro subscription).
One of the long-term benefits of the paid Stadia Pro subscription will be the ability to play in 4K, HDR and 5.1 surround sound. In essence, with the best possible quality.
In any case, while Google is gradually improving Stadia, with new games and features, Microsoft continues to test xCloud, which will be a similar service.
Currently, xCloud is tested on Android and iOS. And recent rumors suggest that testing on Windows 10 should also start soon.
Although Microsoft is not abandoning physical consoles, cloud gaming is today an important part of its strategy in video games. Moreover, the Redmond company no longer considers Nintendo and Sony as its main competitors in this area.