Google has dropped the price of its Stadia Premiere Edition bundle to $99, down from $129. The package is losing the three-month subscription to Stadia Pro, however, so you're not really saving much money. The bundle now includes just a Stadia Controller and Chromecast Ultra. New Stadia Pro subscribers still get one month free.
Stadia, the much-hyped streaming video game service from Google, has largely fallen flat since launch. The game library is quite small, for one, with a total of just 18 titles in Stadia Pro, while many features that were promised at the unveiling have yet to see the light of day.
Better alternatives — Other entrants into the game streaming space include Microsoft with its xCloud service that's currently in beta and offers over 50 popular titles for play including Halo 5, Farming Simulator, and the Sims 4. Microsoft is offering all the games for free while xCloud is still in testing. That's much more attractive to gamers than paying Google full price for titles on a platform that's still half-baked.
Why is game streaming a thing? — Game streaming has been tried before with services like OnLive and Gaikai, though none of have been terribly successful. Google and Microsoft have been building out global networks of powerful servers and think that they can bring the latency down enough through various tricks and offer playback quality in line with locally-hosted games.
The dream is that someday anyone could play video games without having to buy an expensive console, opening up the market to many more people. But while Stadia certainly performs very well on high-speed connections, some people will still find its occasional stutters unbearable.
Google hopes it can bite off a piece of the lucrative gaming industry by becoming the place people go to game, like it did with YouTube and general entertainment. But it's not there yet.