Google has just launched its Stadia gaming platform on iOS and iPadOS, making it the first major game-streaming service available for Apple's ecosystem. Any Stadia customer, either on the "free" tier (you still have to pay for games) or the "Pro" tier (you still have to pay for games but they're in 4K and Google tosses you a couple of random titles for free every month) will be welcome to stream on their Apple devices.
To Google's credit, it works perfectly. To work around Apple's onerous App Store regulations, the company has been forced to produce a progressive web app. While not able to use all of a given device's APIs, Google has made the most of a bad situation and produced an experience almost as good as Android's.
To install the web app, simply head to Safari, go to stadia.google.com, tap the share arrow, and tap "Add to Home Screen." This should create a bookmark for the web app on your phone's home screen. Simply tap the app and log in.
What a play — Stadia is having something of a Hail Mary moment this holiday season, being the most affordable — and available — way to play games with near next-gen graphics during a global recession that has made it quite difficult for console manufacturers to produce product. In particular, players have found Stadia to be the ideal way to play Cyberpunk 2077, which requires an expensive gaming PC to run at full capacity and is so buggy on PlayStation and Xbox that CD Projekt Red is offering those players refunds. In our testing, the Stadia version is running just fine.
As an added bonus to Cyberpunk 2077 players, Google gave everyone who pre-ordered the game a free Stadia Premiere Edition, including a Stadia controller and Chromecast Ultra.
Free-to-play — If you're feeling the world's current financial pinch this holiday season but still want to give it a spin, Google currently offers two free games, Destiny 2 and Super Bomberman R. Touch controllers are available, though we should note that Google's official Stadia controller does not yet connect to iOS through Bluetooth. Any MFi, PS4, or Xbox controller paired with your device should do fine, however. For best results, grab a Razer Kishi.
Data hoarding — There's also the constant issue of game streaming requiring an enormous amount of data, so you're probably best off playing this on your home Wi-Fi. Even then, beware of any connection below 10 Mbps or with a dreaded data cap. Remember, this is bleeding-edge tech and might not make sense for your particular setup.
Sour Apple — In pissing off their most tech-savvy customers, further alienating gamers, and losing out on all of the app data and revenue offered by game-streaming services like Stadia and Xbox Game Pass, this entire debacle has been a huge L for Apple. Now iOS gamers got the inevitable services they always wanted and Apple is stuck trying to explain its monopoly in court. Yikes!