Bear with me for a few moments as I let my theory materialize onto the page. In just a few months, Google will release Stadia to the world and potentially change the landscape of gaming as we know it. Among the many benefits of Google’s streaming game service is the ability to play on a wide variety of platforms. At launch, Stadia will be accessible via any computer (PC, Chromebook, Mac or Linux) running the latest version of Chrome as well as tablets and Pixel phones.
For those opting to purchase the Founder’s Edition for an individual Stadia controller, you’ll be able to access Stadia directly through your television with the help of a Chromecast Ultra. The unfortunate part of that scenario is the fact that you will presumably be restricted to using only a Stadia controller. Nothing wrong with that but, if you’re like me, you’re accustomed to gaming with a keyboard and a mouse.
One option would be to snag a Chromebox and stash it away behind your TV with a mouse and keyboard paired to it for when you want to get your game on. That’s all fine and well but it’s also going to cost you at least $300 to get an entry-level box and input devices. What if there was a better, cheaper way to turn your fancy television into a Stadia-streaming platform?
What if I told you that you could spend around $120 and have all the tools you need to complete your Stadia game setup? Well, I’m not making any promises but I see no reason why this tiny PC on a stick wouldn’t be able to run Stadia games that rely mostly on Google’s massive servers to handle the workload.
I give you, the ASUS Chromebit!
It may seem a little far-fetched that you could play games such as Destiny 2 or Ghost Recon on a device this small running Chrome OS but let’s not forget, Google is doing most of the work. I mean seriously, you can pick one of these up new for right at $100. Since all you need is Chrome to run Stadia, this little Rockchip-powered Chromebit could be the budget-friendly path to online gaming. Note that the Chromebit only supports 1080P so you won’t be able to get that crispy 4K.
Now, there are other things to consider. While quite inexpensive, the Chromebit will reach its end of life in November of 2020. Still, it could be a great way to gain access to Stadia on the cheap while being able to use keyboard and mouse inputs.
In the grander scheme of things, what if Stadia really does become the platform for the masses? Could this be the carrot-on-a-stick that leads ASUS or others to manufacture an update Chromebit? I would imagine that the Rockchip found in the original Samsung Chromebook Plus would have ample horsepower but add the ability to access 4K content. On top of that, we have 8-core MediaTek processors heading our way along with Qualcomm SoCs that are without a doubt up to the task of tackling Stadia.
Anyway, I appreciate you following me on my little journey and perhaps I got your wheels turning along the way. If you weren’t familiar with the Chromebit or perhaps you’d like to add one to your fleet, you can snag one for $99.99 brand new at the link below. I’ll be grabbing one for the simple purpose of testing Stadia when it launches later this year.