stadia

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.

Disney Kids TV Streaming Box Unveiled at CES 2017

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Over the weekend at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Disney announced a new streaming box called Disney Kids TV. Like other streaming devices, it’s a small box that plugs into your TV and internet, and allows you to stream Disney movies, TV shows, music, and even games.

As reported by Tom’s Guide, The Disney Kids TV box uses Google’s Android system, and is manufactured by Snakebyte. Snakebyte is known for developing third-party controllers and headsets.

The box will cost $99 and come pre-loaded with games and movies, though no details were available. To play games you’ll need to have a controller. A specific Disney Kids TV controller will be sold separately (also made by Snakebyte), but standard Bluetooth controllers will work as well.

Parental controls on any digital device for your child is important. The Disney Kids TV box will only allow kid-friendly Disney programming. It will have kid-friendly menus, making it easy to navigate for little ones, and no ads. It also allows you to connect external storage to download and play content for quicker, off-line access.

No details were given on packaged or available content for the streaming box. We’re especially interested in what games it could play. Disney Kids TV will cost $99, though no pricing was given for the optional controller. The streaming box is due out sometime in 2017.

Xbox Wireless Adapter

How to Use an Xbox One Wireless Controller With PC

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Microsoft is releasing an adapter that will allow you to use your Xbox Wireless Controller with PC or tablets (with USB 2.0 or USB 3.0). That includes games streamed to Windows 10. It’s only compatible with Windows 10, though, and it’s only for Xbox One Wireless Controllers—your favorite old Xbox 360 controllers won’t work.

The instructions say you can bind the adapter to your controller “to enable the same gaming experience you are used to on Xbox One,” including chat functions and high quality stereo audio. You’ll also get an additional USB extender cable.

The Xbox Wireless Adapter isn’t available on the Xbox Store yet, but it looks like you can preorder it from Amazon for $24.99. The adapter will be officially available October 20 2015.  Microsoft warns that a significant firmware update may be required.