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Google's Stadia cloud-gaming system turns your Chromecast Ultra into a console

Stadia at GDC

Chromecast Ultra

Google today at the GDC conference in San Francisco unveiled its Stadia game system. It's a cloud-based system, which is of course no surprise, given that Google has been testing this exact sort of thing since the fall of 2018.

But Stadia is more than just another gaming network. It leverages the reach of the Chrome browser and Android phones as it attempts to make gaming completely seamless whether you're playing on a traditional PC, or a Chromebook, or an Android phone — or even a $69 Chromecast Ultra .

That last bit is of certain interest to cordcutters. Chromecast Ultra is the Chromecast we've recommended since its inception, due to the future-proofing that goes into such a device. Sure, it costs twice as much as a 1080p Chromecast. But for less than $100 you've got a high-quality, low-latency streaming system in Stadia — with a Chromecast Ultra that you may already own. (For the controller end of things, Google has a new Wifi-based one that it'll roll out alongside Stadia.)

And of course Chromecast Ultra will continue to stream the traditional video that you bought it for in in the first place.

But Stadia goes even further. It's about combining the world of gaming with the world of game-watching. So you can go from watching someone play a game on Stadia via a YouTube livestream to actually playing the game. All in one place.

Stadia will be available later in 2019.