December 9, 2019

Google Stadia Wants You to Replace Your Video Game Console. Don’t.

I spent most of my time playing the shooter game Destiny 2 and the fighting game Mortal Kombat 11 since they were the most graphically intense. I enjoyed playing the games on my TV screen and on a laptop, but not a phone.

Stadia struggled the most with Mortal Kombat 11. In some fights, motion stuttered and the graphics appeared more pixelated at times, like when my character stuck a giant sword through his opponent’s stomach and sawed away at his innards.

Google said this could be because my internet speeds dipped.

I tinkered with the settings to see if I could make the motion smoother. In the Stadia app, there is a button labeled “data usage and performance,” where you can change the video quality from “best” to “balanced” or “limited.” In a nutshell, the three modes will stream games at different resolutions depending on your internet speeds. After I chose the “balanced” settings, Mortal Kombat 11 ran more smoothly and the graphics still looked great.

Among the games, I enjoyed Destiny 2 the most. (I admit that years ago, I lost many hours of my life playing the original Destiny game on the PlayStation 4.)

With incredibly detailed graphics, this online role-playing shooter title is a game that pushes computing power to its limits. So I was delighted to see Stadia running it adequately in my MacBook Air’s web browser and even on Google’s Pixel 3A, its budget smartphone.

Smartphone gaming was where Stadia fell short. Stadia requires you to plug the game controller into the phone’s USB port to control the game; the games do not adapt to a smartphone to take advantage of its touch-screen controls.

This mobile gaming setup doesn’t make sense. I spent half an hour on my couch, hunched over and staring at a tiny screen while mashing buttons to blast aliens in Destiny 2 before my back started hurting. I moved to a desk and used a stand to prop up the phone and play sitting in a chair, but this still felt uncomfortable.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/technology/personaltech/google-stadia-review.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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