Google Stadia review: half-finished, but it works

After weeks of bad news for Google Stadia, it should come as no surprise that it is a disappointment. Interestingly enough, Sean Hollister calls it the best of cloud gaming. Right now, it is, but that doesn't also mean it doesn't feel like a beta.

Sean's review is a must-read, if only to see just how much Google promised and just how little of that it actually delivered. It's a shame, really, because Google has some admirable technical achievements in this thing. A lot of the technical underpinnings here are sound — and with cloud gaming, you'd think that would be the hardest part. But Google seems to have whiffed everything else. And there is a lot of everything else.

The worst part in all of this is the creeping worry that Google isn't being entirely forthright about what the technical capabilities really are. Sean writes:

Did you notice that I wrote "4K" and "1080p" in scare quotes earlier? For days, I've been trying and failing to get Google to admit that its servers aren't actually rendering intensive games at what I would consider 4K.

The comparison photos between Google's "4K" and the 4K you get on a console or a local PC are striking. Max graphics settings, these are not.

It all needs to improve — and fast — before it sours everybody on cloud gaming all over again.

Verge Deal of the day 

The OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 6T are each $150 off right now

OnePlus makes powerful, feature-packed Android phones that cost a lot less than the latest devices from Google and Samsung. And ahead of Black Friday, you can save $150 on either the OnePlus 7 Pro, a big phone that has a 90Hz refresh rate display, or the OnePlus 6T, which is slightly older, but still plenty capable. Both are unlocked and will work with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as with Verizon.

Gadget news

+ Enclave's WiSA speakers add THX certified wireless sound to LG's new OLED TVs

I like that this is an open standard for speakers to communicate with each other and I hope it becomes a Standard standard instead of open but only LG uses it.

Related: my biggest gripe with the smarthome is that Google, Amazon, Apple, and Sonos all have their own different systems for setting up your rooms. That should also be an open standard, such that these ecosystems are able to communicate with each other about your home's setup. It's probably a logistical (and security) nightmare, but I wish they'd try.

+ Nokia WiFi Beacon 3 review: high-speed mesh networking

+ Roku releases fix after new Pokémon games for Nintendo Switch cause crashing issues

What a bizzare bug! I know it's Fall of Fail for software but I'm giving this one a pass.

The leading theory for why this problem arose is Pokemon Sword and Shield's constant search for nearby Switch consoles and players. The data they send out to detect Switches is apparently very close to Roku's own, and this familiar code is what threw a wrench into things.

Transportation news

+ BMW reveals i4 electric car in testing, promises nearly 400 miles of range

Releasing your own camouflaged photos is a pretty thirsty move there, Bimmer. Wait does "bimmer" refer only to the car and not the company? Must be. Anyway, I am here for car companies competing on electric car announcement attention and can't wait for more actual electric car competition on the road itself.

+ The weakest part of Ford's Mustang Mach-E reveal was the software

This is exactly what I was afraid of.

+ Ford Mustang Mach-E can now be preordered with a $500 deposit

I am not a huge fan of this $500 deposit thing? I get it registers real-ish intent -- or at least more real than just a regular sign up, but I bet a lot of people will end up bailing on the preorder. And the bit about this being a free loan to Ford is... not wrong. It doesn't sour me on the Mach-E, but something about it rubs me the wrong way.

+ I drove Arcimoto's bizarre electric three-wheeler through New York City traffic

Despite my love of puns, I am not on board with this name. I am on board with more small vehicle options for cities, however.

FUV stands for "fun utility vehicle," which is the name of the delightfully weird electric vehicle. (It's also Arcimoto's stock ticker.) My first thought was that it was a dad joke gone too far, but Frohnmayer corrects me: his own mother came up with the name.

VR news

+ Valve announces a new Half-Life game for VR: Half-Life Alyx

+ Oculus Link is out in beta now, so you can plug a Quest into your PC to play Rift games

More from The Verge

+ Apple is hosting a surprise December 2nd event 'honoring' apps and games

+ John Legere will step down as T-Mobile CEO next year

This is one of those "inevitable but still weird when it happens" moments.

+ Guide to streaming: from Disney+ to NBA League Pass and Crunchyroll

Julia Alexander has put together a comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide.

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