A subscription to the service costs $9.99 a month, but players who preordered the Founder’s or Premiere editions of the console will have three months of Stadia Pro.
The only other tool you’d need is the Stadia app, to connect the controller to the TV. Cloud-based computing is meant to lower the barrier of entry for console-quality, high-definition gaming by reducing the spending for consumers. Higher end consoles like Xbox One X ($499) and PlayStation 4 Pro ($399) retail for significantly more than Stadia’s buy-in price.
Both consoles struggle to hit 4K resolution images anyway, particularly the older PlayStation 4 Pro. Skeptics say broadband capabilities may not be able to support the high-end streaming of which Google boasts, but the company feels confident in its data centers to send information back to your TV with little-to-no lag time.
The controller is also able to connect to browsers on your laptop, desktop computer or smartphone to stream the same games.
In a video presentation at the Made By Google event in New York City, senior industrial designer Jason Pi said the controller’s ergonomics were inspired by the handles on kitchen knives.
“We literally took a knife handle and bent it,” Pi said. “And then we thought, we’re on to something.”
Google’s entry crowds an already competitive market around cloud-gaming. Sony has been aggressively marketing it’s PlayStation Now service, which claims more than 700,000 subscribers but is available only on PlayStation 4 consoles and the PC. And per The Verge, Microsoft launched a preview of its xCloud gaming service Oct. 14 for a select few users in the U.S., United Kingdom and South Korea.