Cloud-Based Streaming Console Google Stadia Launching in November

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During Google’s Stadia broadcast this week we were given a firm price tag and a soft release date. The all streaming digital console will begin rolling out in November with a Founder’s Edition ($129.99). The Founder’s Edition includes a $10/mo subscription to Stadia Pro. A non-subscription version of Stadia will be launching next year.

As originally revealed earlier this year, Google Stadia is a hardware-less console that relies entirely on cloud-based streaming. To stream games on your TV you’ll need a Chromecast stick, which is included in a Stadia purchase, along with the Stadia controller.

In theory Stadia allows you to play games on any device that can accept the wireless signal, and system requirements and hardware become a thing of the past. The catch is that modern games require a lot of bandwidth, and even the slightest hiccups can be jarringly noticeable.

Google offers a helpful chart that determines just how good your internet connect needs to be in order to stream games at a comfortable 1080p at 60 fps, or even 4K. 10 Mbps is the minimum for 720p, though anything less than 20 Mbps (1080p) would be unacceptable by today’s standards.

The Founder’s Edition is arriving first in November, and includes Chromecast Ultra to plug into your TV, and a Stadia controller. It also includes a digital copy of Destiny 2: The Collection, and three months free of Stadia Pro. Stadia Pro is Google Games Pass or Netflix-like subscription service which regularly unlocks free games, as well as providing a discount of game purchases. Stadia Pro supports up to 4K resolution and 5.1 surround sound.

The Founder’s Edition also includes a 3-month gift copy of Stadia Pro. After three months the service is $9.99 per month.

If you don’t want to be tied to the subscription service, Google will offer a free version called Stadia Base. This version supports up to 1080p (not 4K) and does not include any free games.

Google also revealed several high profile games that will be playable on Stadia by major studios such as Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Square Enix: Final Fantasy XV, Rage 2, The Division 2, Borderlands 3, Mortal Kombat 11, and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Google Stadia: Founder’s Edition will launch this November.

Google Play Store Now Requires Target Audience for Child Safety

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As per a recent Android Developers blog, Google is taking steps to improve their Google Play mobile store and “reduce the chance that apps not intended for children could unintentionally attract them” on Android mobile devices.

New changes and policy updates will be rolled out in the coming months, beginning with requiring every developer to declare the intended target audience for each game on the Google Play store.

If children are the target audience, then developers will need to answer a series of follow-up questions, while Google also reviews the app themselves. The new policy will divide every app into three groups: Children as the target audience, a mix of children and older users, and older users only. Apps in the first two categories will be subject to Google’s Family Policy Requirements, which include restrictions on ads, data collection, augmented reality, and privacy policies, as well as obvious content restrictions such as violence and drug use.

Developers have until September 1 to fill out the new target audience section and comply with these new policies. Google has increased staffing and improved communications for app reviews and appeals to help expedite these sweeping changes.

Compared to the more heavily curated App Store on iOS, Google Play is much more of a Wild West of content, with many apps erroneously (or maliciously) targeting targeting young people with inappropriate content or advertising. These new policies are a step in the right direction.