I haven’t playedon a or an , or a PS4 or Xbox One, or a PC. Instead, I’ve been playing the game on a couple of iPads (and a TV, and laptops) using . Considering over dated console graphics and massive glitches and bugs, it feels like I made the right call. A year after Stadia made its debut, I think I’ve finally found its killer app.
, making it the latest streaming game service that now works with iPhones and iPads via the browser (there’s no official iOS app available yet). I played using Safari, because you can easily add a quick-launch shortcut to your desktop that starts up full-screen like a regular app, no browser borders getting in the way. I paired an Xbox One controller via Bluetooth, stood an up in a case, and I was set.
So far, I’m very pleased with my decision. No downloads, no physical console. In a weird way, this is exactly the sort of cyberpunk way of playing games that a cyberpunk game deserves.
I don’t want to burn through a lot of storage space, and updates
The last few months have reminded me of what next-gen consoles and PCs require for game downloads: 50GB and up. Cyberpunk 2077 takes up between 60 and 100GB of space for consoles. I’m already close to maxing storage on an Xbox Series X and PS5 I’m trying out. My home internet is 100MBps. I downloaded a 170GB PC VR game last week, that was enough.
Even with two kids doing remote schooling, Stadia ran fine on my 100Mbps internet. Again, I wouldn’t say it was perfect, but it was more than good enough to play and not get annoyed. I don’t really expect more out of Cyberpunk 2077 in my life right now: For me, it’s a story I want to dip into and follow. I want to engage with it casually. I don’t have endless hours to stay glued to one big screen and console all the time.
Stadia is fast-starting and surprisingly nonbuggy…
On a big-screen, Stadia was fantastic. The game loaded fast and I didn’t have to wait hours for it to install. The game looked good enough to me, although it’s possible you’d be disappointed if you were a PC gamer. Everything was plenty playable, and I took in the storyline and was able to play along with an Xbox controller paired.
It feels like the same experience as on a PC, Mac or a TV, except for the screen size limitations. It worked well on an iPad Air, too. Due to Cyberpunk 2077’s pretty in-depth layout of small text and weird icons, 10 inches is about as small as I want to get. (Phones are out of the question for me, but Stadia works for Android phones and iPhones, too.)
I had moments where the streaming slowed down a bit, or controller syncing got a bit weird. Mostly, it was totally fine.
Read more: GameSpot’s Cyberpunk 2077 review
…until it is buggy
Of course, the moment I finished writing this, I wasn’t able to load Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia. One afternoon, the game just got stuck on the title screen. I gave up and walked away and spent time with my kids instead. Wireless connections and streaming are an everyday puzzle in my Isolation House. (It’s working fine, now.)
I love swapping screens
It’s relaxing to drag Cyberpunk 2077 around to wherever I might be, and play there. You can do that with a gaming laptop, or you could locally stream from an Xbox Series X or PC. It’s a lot easier on something like Stadia, though.
It often feels like streaming game services are striving for what streaming TV services do. I can do my binging of Netflix shows wherever, and know everything will pick up when I get to whatever device I have with me. Same thing with Stadia. Maybe it’s being trapped at home for a year, knowing that my devices are scattered around, and I move from room to room, but Stadia seems to be a better fit for me now than it was a year ago. I don’t love it for smaller games (just play it natively on the device it was designed for) or twitch-action games (where those occasional glitches have a much bigger impact on your enjoyment). But for a sprawling, story-based game like Cyberpunk 2077, it’s great.
Stadia is my Cyberpunk spot (for now)
A year into Google’s launch of Stadia, there are now several streaming competitors: Xbox cloud gaming via Xbox Game Pass,and . Stadia has a subscription option with a few included games, but most games have to be bought at full price. Stadia never appealed to me much a year ago, and Cyberpunk 2077, for all its crossovers with cyberpunk literature and films I’ve loved, isn’t really my favorite game, either. But I don’t feel any need to download a huge Cyberpunk game anywhere else in my life. I much prefer that Google host that stuff somewhere else and just let me stream it.