Here's What You Need To Get Started With Google Stadia Game Streaming

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Google's new Stadia game streaming service looks to take away some of the pain points often encountered with premium gaming, including the emphasis on having a high-end gaming console or PC.

Stadia does this by streaming games through its cloud infrastructure and utilizing a most-devices-will-work mantra. However, those who are looking to get more involved with Stadia will still need to abide by certain requirements.

Here's a quick overview of what you'll need.

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It all comes down to Chrome

While Google intends to make Stadia available to as many users as possible, through as many devices as possible, the common thread connecting them all together is Chrome.

Therefore to get started with Stadia you will need access to Chrome in some way. If you plan on playing through a smartphone (supported on phones running Android 4.2 and up), a PC/laptop (Windows 7 and up), or a Mac (macOS X 10.9 and up), then that's fairly easy to do by just using the Chrome browser itself.

However, if you want to play through your TV then at first you will need to own a Chromecast device and the optimum solution is a Chromecast Ultra. This is Google's 4K dongle and the one that is sort of being positioned as the ideal Stadia bridge.

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Chromecast Ultra retails in the U.S. for $69 and can be purchased through a number of retailers, including Amazon.

Alternatively, there is the standard Chromecast dongle. This one is a far cheaper option considering it comes in at $35, but it does not support 4K. This one can also be purchased via a number of retailers, including Amazon.

It's in your hands

Another essential element to the gaming experience is the controller and this is another area where Google says it will open up the experience to as many third-party options as possible.

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Again, the idea here is you can use any compatible controller via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, Google argues the best experience will come from using its own Stadia Controller.

The Stadia Controller is priced at $69, supports Bluetooth LE 4.2 and dual-band Wi-Fi, can be used wired or wirelessly (charges via USB-C) and features a 3.5mm headphone jack along with additional features, such as dedicated buttons for game capture and Google Assistant.

Your internet matters

Besides a device to access the Stadia platform, this service is totally reliant on streaming and with all things streaming, that also means it is totally reliant on internet connections and speeds. Thankfully, the minimum requirements in this respect are pretty minimal.

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Google says the minimum download speed is 10 Mbps while the minimum upload speed is 1 Mbps. Do keep in mind these are the bare minimums and so that's not to say this will be enough for a lag-free experience.

If using a 10 Mbps download speed then you can expect a stereo sound, and 60fps at 720p.

Upping the download speed to around 20 Mbps and users can expect an upgrade in sound to 5.1 Surround, and an upgrade in resolution to 1080p as well as support for HDR video.

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If you are really looking to take advantage of the full experience then you will want to be playing in 4K and to do that Google says the minimum download speed jumps to 35 Mbps for 4K at 60fps.

Again, this is the minimum recommended speed for 4K play and so even there it might be the case that you need even greater speeds to iron out the streaming experience.

Another subscription

Lastly, you will need a subscription to the service. The most common subscription option is the standard Stadia Pro plan priced at $9.99 per month in the U.S. This gives you access to the free (included with subscription) content, discounts on games you can purchase, and full access to the service's features – for example, 4K at 60fps.

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Google says next year it will launch a "Stadia Base" plan which lets users join up without paying a set fee each month although this is more of a 'buy to play' option so you'll only have access to content you have purchased. This plan will also limit the experience to 1080p at 60fps.

For more information on the pricing and plans, click here.