Google Stadia has arrived, not with a bang but a whimper. You could be forgiven for having let the Stadia launch date pass you by, as it doesn't appear to have made the splash many were expecting. But one thing's for certain: it arrives with many of the expected problems and limitations.
That's not to say Stadia has been a failure, but the critical reception is notably cold, with a positivity focused on potential rather than reality.
"The Stadia is nothing short of revolutionary," writes Alex Hern in his three star review for The Guardian. "Its core technology delivers on a promise decades in the making: console-quality gaming, without the console. But revolutions have unpredictable outcomes, leave a trail of destruction in their wake, and have a tendency to destroy those who start them. Will Google be able to see this through?"
One thing that rings loudly through the noise is that Google's game streaming option is by far the best around. Even for large games like Red Dead Redemption 2, load times are almost non-existent, and it outshines Nvidia GeForce Now and Microsoft xCloud in terms of fidelity and lag, but it still struggles to fulfil its promise of a console quality gaming experience anywhere, anytime.
While Hern found that the experience closely resembles traditional home consoles, that was not necessarily the case for everyone. Consoles offers a uniform experience for all players, whereas even the offline single-player experience on Stadia is defined by the quality of your internet connection. Some critics reported notable lag and stuttering problems, while others with 100mb broadband and no bandwidth caps reported a more stable experience.