Price: Free or $10 per month for Pro tier; games are purchased separately
Free trial? Yes, one month
Supported hardware: Computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs
Google Stadia is a streaming service, so you don’t have to wait for games to download to begin playing them. You do need a robust internet connection, though, for a good experience. Google recommends at least 10 megabits per second to stream in 1080p (aka Full HD).
The future of the service is somewhat unclear, however, now that Google says it will be largely shutting down its in-house game development efforts to focus on creating streaming technology for use by other game developers.
There are two subscription tiers: a free one and a $10 per month one called Pro. The free tier allows up to 1080p streaming, and Pro lets you stream up to 4K HDR, with 5.1 surround sound, too. Most games must be purchased separately, but you can often get a discount if you’re a Pro subscriber. The price for games varies, but expect to pay around $60 for new releases like Cyberpunk 2077. Pro subscribers are also occasionally given games free.
Stadia excels in its compatibility with a wide variety of devices. It works on just about any computer as long as you’re using a recent version of the Chrome web browser. It can also be used on smartphones and tablets through the Stadia app. You can play on your big-screen TV if you have a Chromecast Ultra streaming device.