Have a gamepad handy and a recent LG TV? You can likely now try Google’s Stadia cloud gaming platform — as of today, it’s an app you can download for your television running webOS 5.0 or webOS 6.0 (read: likely 2020 models or later) in any of the 22 countries that Google covers. You’ll find it in the LG app store on your TV.
LG promised that both Google Stadia and Nvidia’s rival GeForce Now cloud gaming service would arrive on its TVs in 2021, and the company’s made it under the wire — GeForce Now arrived in beta in mid-November. Previously, most Stadia-supported TVs ran some version of Android TV.
Both Stadia and GeForce Now are free to try with a basic account — though they’re not necessarily equal. We were blown away by GeForce Now’s new $200-a-year RTX 3080 tier; I wrote that it leapfrogged Google Stadia. But Nvidia only streams in 4K resolution to its own Shield TV set-top box — not these LG TVs — while Google Stadia will be offering its full “Stadia Pro” tier with 4K streaming resolution, HDR, and 5.1 surround sound to LG TVs as of today. Assuming you pay $10 a month for Stadia Pro, that is.
We haven’t yet compared Stadia’s “4K” vs. Nvidia’s “1080p” on the same screen, but I’m eager to give that a spin some evening.
One possible advantage for Stadia: while GeForce Now requires you to bring your own games (it uses your PC library), Google is currently running free timed trials of games like Control.
Even if you don’t have a gamepad, you can technically play Stadia on some platforms using your phone’s touchscreen — a spokesperson confirms that Stadia’s bridge mode has made it to LG TVs.
Update, 7:20PM ET: Confirmed that Bridge Mode should work with your phone as a touchscreen controller for Stadia.