I have been playing a lot of Stadia lately. Not because I think Google's game streaming service is amazing, but because in order to get anything out of Assassin's Creed Odyssey (about which I have many thoughts) you have to play a lot. It's a long game.
I'll put down a few more points about my experiences with Stadia — and how it's the worst gaming launch since the Xbox One and maybe before that, after the links.
Essential reading from Walt Mossberg himself. I expect (actually I know, because the tweets have happened) it will be a little polarizing. But I think it's a cipher: people will be angered because it doesn't give enough credit to AirPods and the Apple Watch, other people will think it gives too MUCH credit to other products.
I think it's spot-on. The MacBook line wasn't just a miss, it was a years-long blunder. And while Apple's new products are very successful, nothing will ever match the iPhone.
Research into super resolution has been ongoing for some time now, with tech companies like Google and Nvidia creating their own algorithms in the past few years. In each case, the software is trained on a dataset containing pairs of low-resolution and high-resolution images. The algorithm compares this data and creates rules for how the pixels change from image to image. Then when it's shown a low-resolution picture it's never seen before, it predicts what extra pixels are needed and inserts them.
Alienware's m17 gaming laptop with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics chip is steeply discounted right now at Dell. It has one of Intel's older 8th Gen CPUs, but otherwise its 16GB of RAM and 512GB of fast PCIe SSD storage will ensure some great performance for far less cash required than usual. You can get it for just $1,699.99 with the offer code AWAFF1150, but Dell warns that quantities are limited at this price.
Google Stadia should have stayed in beta
I have put in enough hours in enough conditions to say that this is a beta product and Google should have labeled it as such and launched it differently. Because even in the best conditions, this ain't the best. I have what I think is probably the most ideal connection imaginable: Google Fiber (technically WebPass) in Oakland, 500 up and down with very low latency. And I still get weird internet lag jitters sometimes. Woof.
Woof but also, shrug? I find that by and large it works well enough for me and I really do love that I can play it on many different devices (including a Surface Go!). The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that as with the Xbox One, the biggest problem is simply the size of the library.
All the Games Of The Year lists are coming out (here's ours) and I can't tell you how many times I've thought "Huh I might want that on Stadia rather than PlayStation" and realized that, haha no, Stadia is still a beta product with a beta product-sized library.
Google has thus far failed to ship a hunk of plastic that helps you attach your phone to a controller. A thing that should have been packed in with the original controller, a thing that costs $15 for some reason, a thing that it nothing more than molded plastic and a spring. So, you know, execution still not this division's strong suit. That's also in beta.
Thing is, Google has asked for and received Real Money from people, so treating Stadia like a beta isn't just embarrassing, it's irresponsible. Google should have tried an entirely different way of launching this service. Call it a beta for real, make it an invite system to have it seem more exclusive, and don't charge money for it until it's out of beta.
Hindsight is 20/20 (or maybe it's 4K with low latency), though. All we can hope for now is that Google will fix it quickly. Maybe by the time I get through Assassin's Creed, it will be better. That's probably too long to wait, though.
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