xCloud vs Stadia – Beta vs. Paid Service
Google just released Stadia recently for those who pre-ordered its Founder’s Edition. However, many of its users are highly critical of it. For a paid service, Stadia doesn’t deliver a lot. Sure, the tech behind it is great, but the overall Google Stadia service doesn’t stand out. Compare this with Microsoft’s xCloud service – a similar cloud gaming platform but for free. Microsoft’s xCloud is still currently in Open Beta, and yet it’s already a better service compared to Stadia. Let’s break down why we choose xCloud in the xCloud vs Stadia matchup.
Google Stadia launched through the Founder’s Edition kit. It contained the Stadia controller, a Chromecast Ultra specifically made for the service, and subscription to Stadia Pro. Players had to shell out $129 for this, which is fair enough considering it came with a Chromecast Ultra and a controller. However, it really boils down on the service. The Founder’s Edition came with a subscription to Stadia Pro, which actually gives subscribers a free game each month. For those who got the Founder’s Edition, they received Destiny 2 and Samurai Showdown. To play any of the other launch titles, users will actually have to buy them at full price from the Google Stadia app.
Meanwhile, xCloud is offered completely for free. It currently offers 50 games through the service – almost five times as that of Stadia. It lets you use your own Xbox controller to play games. If you have an Xbox One, you can stream directly from your Xbox One. This gives you access to your games on your Xbox One and even more if you have Xbox Game Pass.
It’s mind-boggling how Google was confident enough to launch Stadia with its current streaming capabilities. Although Stadia Pro users can stream games for up to 4K resolutions, it’s mostly unachievable with our current internet standards. Even with speeds up to 35mbps, which is what Google says the requirement is for 4K streaming, users have reported having issues. This is most noticeable and most affecting fighting games, like Samurai Showdown. It’s not much of a problem for single-player games like Tomb Raider, but it’s still a big deal.
Meanwhile, there are fewer problems when streaming those exact same games through Microsoft’s xCloud servers. It’s head-scratching how a paid service could perform worse than a beta service, but that’s how things are as it stands right now. Furthermore, xCloud streaming could be done through LTE connection, which means you could actually play your games on the go. This isn’t currently supported in Google Stadia, although it’s not hard to imagine Google adding this feature some time later.
Google Stadia is actually much more versatile compared to the xCloud in terms of the kind of devices you could stream on. You can play on your computer’s Chrome browser with the Google Stadia, on a smart TV with the Chromecast on, and also on a Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 4 phone. Stadia will support more devices sooner or later, but for now it can only be played in Android phones through rooting.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s xCloud is only available for Android devices, including tablets. However, the list ends there. There’s no way to stream to your smart TVs or on your PC.
For the battle between xCloud vs Stadia, we have to give the prize to the xCloud. Right now, xCloud offers far better service at a way lower price. To be fair, Google has been pretty upfront with what their service will be like, and those who bought the Founder’s Edition kit should know what they were getting into. Google also promises that the service will get better over time, but until then, xCloud is the better game streaming platform between the two.