Google Stadia vs. Shadow: this duel is not a game | Digital Trends Spanish


Although PC and console gamers may be surprised by the idea, cloud gaming is now a viable alternative. Leading the group is Google Stadia, which requires nothing more than a browser and control – no expensive hardware purchases required. But this platform is not alone in the cloud gaming space. Shadow, following another path, it is focused on taking the money that you cost so much to earn. At first glance, they both look similar, although there are big differences between the services and that gives one of these competitors a huge advantage. Here we are going to tell you who is the winner of the Google Stadia vs. Shadow.

Google Stadia vs. Shadow

Compatible Devices

Stadia and Shadow have Android apps. Rich Shibley / Digital Trends

Unlike a traditional game console, a cloud gaming service is not tied to a single physical device. Many devices are compatible with cloud gaming, even a 10-year-old laptop (in theory). However, compatibility in applications and negotiations with partners lead to restrictions.

Google’s Stadia is, unsurprisingly, focused on the Google ecosystem. It’s available on select Android phones via Google Play and the Chromecast Ultra, although the latter requires a $ 69 check. It is also available on computers with modern web browsers, as well as on Apple devices via the Safari web app.

Shadow plays through Blade’s dedicated app on Windows, Ubuntu, and most Android devices running “Nougat” 7.0 or newer (Android TV devices require Android 5.0 or newer). It is also compatible with MacOS 10.10 and newer, iOS 11 and newer, and tvOS 11 and newer.

Most Google Stadia and Shadow compatible devices can be handled with ease, as the streaming demand from the hardware is not much higher than streaming via Netflix or YouTube. Older mobile devices that lack an Ethernet port will have Wi-Fi bandwidth as their main problem. Devices that don’t support at least 802.11n Wi-Fi will struggle and the newer Wi-Fi 6 standard is preferable.

Shadow has its own dedicated device, the Shadow ghost, which can be used to take Shadow to any screen. However, it is currently not for sale and Shadow has not said when it will be available.

Winner: Google Stadia. You can use this service in a Chromebook without complicating you with Linux commands just to install an app. Any device with a modern browser will work fine.

Compatible controls

Google Stadia vs.  Shadow
$ 69 Stadia Control. Rich Shibley / Digital Trends

Both Google Stadia and Shadow can use Bluetooth controls, which opens up compatibility to a wide range of options, including the Xbox One controller and the PlayStation DualShock 4. In addition to that, both services can handle controls connected directly to USB, depending on the device.

Stadia and Shadow are great at detecting controls. Problems with any device rarely occur. However, Shadow is slightly better because it offers a neat dashboard that offers more details in case you need to troubleshoot a problem.

However, Stadia has an extra, but optional component: the Stadia Controller.

This is the situation. If you want to use Stadia via Chromecast Ultra, you must use the Google control. Google is currently experimenting with Tandem Mode, which essentially allows a third-party controller to support a synchronized Stadia controller. It’s certainly not ideal, especially when you can do it without the Chromecast Ultra and connect a PC directly to your TV.

Beyond the Chromecast Ultra, you can use the Stadia controller via a wired USB connection to a PC or mobile device. For a wireless connection, the device uses Wi-Fi and a link code to sync with a Stadia account.

For example, on a PC, users turn on the gamepad and click the controller icon at stadia.google.com. They then enter a link code on the screen using the associated button pattern. Mobile devices feature a dedicated app, one that offers much easier wireless syncing.

Winner: Stadia takes the win here. Not only does it support your favorite gamepads, but Google’s dedicated controller works wired and wirelessly, on a PC and on mobile devices.

Visual quality

Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey looks great on both services.

Google Stadia supports resolutions up to 4K. It is also HDR compliant and supports up to 60 frames per second. Google’s servers, for now, depend on an Intel CPU and an AMD “Vega” GPU, although this information is not in plain sight.

Meanwhile, Shadow supports up to 4K resolution at 60fps. It can also support 1080p with up to 60fps for displays with high refresh rates. Shadow does not support HDR, but upcoming Ultra and Infinite subscriptions will include ray tracing and DLSS via the RTX 2080 and the Titan RTX respectively.

Although both services offer expanded resolution support, Shadow offers a bit more control, particularly for PC gamers. Its expanded control menu makes it easy to select a specific resolution and frame rate target. You can even choose a cap on bandwidth usage, which can lead to more stable performance on low-bandwidth connections.

In our experience, Shadow delivers slightly better image quality under a wider range of circumstances. There is little difference between the two on a cell phone or on a television, however, both perform well when your internet connection can deliver 15Mbps of bandwidth.

But Stadia can be disappointing on a PC, particularly at resolutions above 1080p. Stadia seems to resort to lower resolutions more aggressively than Shadow, reducing the sharpness of the image.

Winner: Shadow. Although Stadia performs well, Shadow is more consistent. It also offers more control of detail, allowing you to customize the experience on the device you are using, and it supports ray tracing graphs.

Games library

This is where the difference between Google Stadia and Shadow becomes clear, due to the two services taking a different approach to game libraries.

Stadia is a platform with a digital front. Games you buy on Stadia can only be played on Stadia and games you own on other platforms cannot be played on Stadia. In this sense, it works like any game console. A copy of a PlayStation 4 game will not work on a Cbox console, for example. Stadia is the same.

In Shadow you can play Any game that is compatible with a Windows PC.

The list of games on Stadia grows over the months; today it offers more than 200 titles. The thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need a subscription to access and play the games you buy. Like a digital movie you buy from Vudu, these games can be streamed at 1080p at no additional cost.

However, the Pro subscription that costs $ 10 per month offers a portion of the Stadia library that you can play with for “free” every month, similar to Xbox Game Pss. Members also get a discount, just like Microsoft’s service. The subscription offers the resolution of Stadia games in 4K.

Shadow is different. When you subscribe to Shadow, you subscribe to a virtual PC service. Pay close attention and you will realize that Shadow will give you “the gaming platform you deserve” and turn any device “into a gaming PC”.

Because of that, in Shadow you can play any game that is compatible with a gaming PC. There are no limitations. Shadow gives you a cloud-based Windows gaming PC that can do anything a normal PC can. Do you want to use Excel? Sure. You can do it.

Winner: Shadow. If played on a PC, it can be played on Shadow. Stadia’s library is far better than it was in 2020, but it’s limited when you compare it to the 300+ games you may already have on Steam.

Extra features

Google Stadia is a platform and it comes with some features that you would expect. That includes a friends list, voice chat support, and a feature called “Crowd Play,” which lets you jump straight into the games you watch on YouTube.

Other Stadia features include Stream Connect, which allows others to interact with your game in real time, and State Share, a tool that saves “game state” to a screen or clip so that you or others can relive the moment. Crowd Choice, another notable feature, allows participants to vote on what you should do in the game.

As it is not a platform, Shadow does not offer its own friends list, voice chat, or other community features. After all, this service is a virtual PC, so you are in charge of installing Steam, Discord and other external apps that you prefer to communicate with.

Since Shadow lets you rent a PC in the cloud, you can use that PC for more than just gaming. In a way, that’s an advantage, since you can use platforms or applications that you are used to. For example, using Steam is identical to using it on a local PC. This means that Shadow also supports moderators, something Stadia may not do.

But the downside to using this virtual PC-based service is that you can’t just click and play. Subscribers must first download and install the software and then apply any necessary patches before launching the game. That’s not the case with Stadia, loading an updated game is done almost instantly.

Winner: Shadow. While we love Stadia and it has social features built in, Shadow’s full PC functionality opens up interesting possibilities.

Pricing and availability

Google Stadia does not require a subscription. All it takes is the purchase of a set. If you want 4K streaming and a library of free games, paying $ 10 a month isn’t bad at all. The Chromecast and the Stadia controller are optional too, you don’t really need them if you have a decent PC linked to your TV.

The Shadow Boost configuration, meanwhile, costs $ 12 a month for a quad-core CPU and a GTX 1080 from Nvidia. The next Ultra configuration will have a quad-core CPU and the RTX 2080 for $ 30 a month, while the Infinite configuration will have a six-core CPU and the Titan RTX for $ 50 a month.

Google’s closest competitor, nvidia’s GeForce Now, relies on your Steam library, similar to Shadow, but you’re not renting a virtual PC. Instead, you can stream your library for free if you’re willing to tolerate the endless line and hour-long playtime. Nvidia’s subscription, which costs $ 25 for six months, takes you closer to startup, extends your session, and adds RTX support.

However, all cloud gaming services have a variety of region-based restrictions. Shadow is widely available in Europe and the US, but not elsewhere. Stadia is available in 22 countries. None are available in Asia, Africa, or South America.

Winner: Stadia. Google’s cloud gaming platform is available in more territories and requires no subscription. The downside is that, like any platform, the game you buy cannot be played elsewhere. Moreover, you can share those games with family members just like you do with Android-based purchases.

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