Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, but you might be surprised to find out how similar Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate really are. In terms of basic features you'd expect the two to have, there's actually not really a whole lot of variance.
With that said, we wanted to compare the two different platforms to make it easier for people to see which might be a better fit. Or if you're just interested in seeing how the two differ from each other in terms of features.
Both Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offer a sizeable library of games, but each also has a varied selection. Stadia for instance has quite a few indie games while Xbox Game Pass has a lot of different AAA titles that are both new and a few years older.
In this comparison you can see a brief breakdown of the differences in the table below. But we'll also cover some of the comparison categories more in depth following the summary table.
|Cloud Gaming Features||Stadia||Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|Cost||$9.99 per month (Pro)||$14.99 per month|
|Multi-device compatibility||Yes||No (For now)|
|Game library||147 games||Over 150 games|
|Compatible with different peripherals||Yes||Yes|
|Pause game and change devices||Yes||No|
|Touch controls||Yes (For some games)||Yes (For some games)|
|Play with friends||Yes||Yes|
|Add-on services||Yes (Ubisoft+)||Yes (EA Play)|
|State Share feature||Yes||No|
|Stream Connect feature||Yes||No|
|Crowd Choice feature||Yes||No|
|Crowd Play feature||Yes||No|
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Both these platforms have a lot to offer to the discerning gamer. From game discounts to popular titles from specific developers and publishers. Both are great. But both also have some things to offer that the other does not. Let's take a closer look at some of the best features of both.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Cost
When it comes to cost, both Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are fairly close to each other. Though Stadia does come up $5 cheaper. The reason for that of course is because Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is not just cloud gaming. You also get more with that subscription.
Stadia's $9.99 per month plan is for Stadia Pro. Which nets the subscriber unique Pro-only discounts as well as features that non-Pro subscribers do not get. You also have to pay for games on a case by case basis. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you cloud gaming as well as gaming on consoles and PC. And any games included in Game Pass don't have to be paid for.
They're always free to access and play so long as your subscription is active. And you can choose to play them over the cloud, or install them on an Xbox console or Windows PC. Games also rotate out of the list on a consistent basis.
From a strictly cloud gaming perspective, Stadia is less expensive. So if that is all you're concerned with, Stadia may be the better option. Though both are great platforms and work pretty well.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Multi-device compatibility
Technically Xbox Game Pass Ultimate can be played on multiple devices. But they're all Android smartphones and tablets. This is still a nice touch. And Microsoft is working on bringing the cloud gaming to Windows PCs as it's internally testing it right now. With plans to launch it for users in beta this Spring.
But, this is about what is currently offered. And right now that's just Android devices. When it comes to Stadia though, Stadia can be played on Android smartphones, TVs with a Chromecast Ultra (or Android TV devices if you sideload the app), Windows PCs, iPhones, Mac PCs, and Chromebooks.
Stadia is much more compatible with different device types right now. Which makes it infinitely more accessible to consumers. This is a major strength for Stadia. As it means more places you can play games no matter where you are. So long as there's an internet connection of course.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Game library
When it comes to gaming platforms, in many cases content is king. People aren't going to stick around too long if you don't offer anything fun to play. For Stadia, it was a rough launch. Having been released to the masses with a very small collection of titles. None of them really new releases.
But Google quickly ramped up its efforts to push out more games for subscribers. And today Stadia offers a total of 147 games. With plans to release more than 100 additional games throughout 2021. Including ports of already released games and day and date releases of upcoming games.
For Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you're getting less of a growing collection of new and already available titles and more of a rotating collection that is constantly changing. But from a purely numbers standpoint, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate has the larger library as it offers over 150 titles.
Some of those are new releases, and some are not. And Microsoft does promise to continue releasing some titles onto Game Pass cloud gaming that are newly released titles for its Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One consoles.
A year ago, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was the better option in terms of the amount of games you could play. But these days, both Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are pretty even. Which is excellent for everyone involved.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Voice chat availability
Both services offer voice chat features. But what's interesting here is that, while Xbox Game Pass Ultimate only works on Android smartphones and tablets and has voice chat, Stadia works on more than just Android devices, but Android is not one of the platforms where voice chat is currently supported.
This does lo0ok to be changing though. Google appears to still have Android compatibility in the works. Another good thing is that you still have text chat features. So if you do need to shoot off a quick message, that's always an option. Unfortunately it's not very efficient for communication in team-based games. Which means you'd probably need to use something like Discord to circumvent things.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Touch controls
Stadia didn't launch with touch control support for Android devices. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (at the time referred to as Project xCloud) however did.
Now though, both platforms have touch control support for playing games on phones. Though this is only supported on some game titles and not every single game offered on either platform.
And to be quite honest, many of the games don't really play well with touch controls anyway. Especially if you're playing on a phone which has a smaller screen. Still, touch controls are a strength because maybe it's not always ideal to carry around an actual controller with you. This way you don't necessarily have to.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: First-party exclusives
Once upon a time first-party exclusives were something that Stadia users could look forward to. With Stadia Games & Entertainment now having been shut down though, before any first-party exclusives were released, it has none to offer.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on the other hand has many first-party exclusives to offer. Including Gears Of War 5, Gears Tactics, and more. That doesn't mean Stadia is a worse platform. But it is unfortunate as first-party exclusives do have the power to draw in crowds. As long as those titles are really good.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Add-on services
Both platforms actually offer an add-on service that opens up the player to even more games than what are part of the official Stadia library. Stadia has Ubisoft+ and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate has EA Play.
Though, technically EA Play isn't an add-on service as it's rolled up into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and is part of the $15 a month. Whereas with Stadia, Ubisoft+ is an additional $15 a month on top of the $9.99 a month for Stadia Pro.
Having said that, you can also choose to subscribe to Ubisoft+ while only being a Stadia Base member. So there is some player choice there.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Game discounts and free games
You'll get free games from both Stadia an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. In Stadia's case, you need to be subscribed to Stadia Pro. And if you are, then every month Google hands out some games that Pro members can claim at no charge.
These titles are always accessible to play as long as the Pro membership is active. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers get free games in the exact same way. Because Ultimate comes with a free membership to Xbox Live Gold, which has Games With Gold – the Xbox version of the monthly free titles to claim.
As for discounts, you'll find specialized discounts in both camps as well. While Google and Microsoft give out discounts to all members of their respective services, Stadia Pro members and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members get deeper discounts on games. Including ones that are already on sale.
Stadia VS. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Conclusion
As noted before, while each platform has its niche and its group of loyal fans, both are great. And if we're being completely honest, it's awesome to have both Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate as opposed to one or the other if that's something you're able to do.
Especially since both are also different in their own ways and both work great. At the end of the day, cloud gaming is awesome and it really opens up the possibilities for gaming. So no matter which platform you prefer, you're bound to have some fun.