iPhone and iPad can finally play Google Stadia games

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Google Stadia for iOS is going into public beta testing soon.
Google bypassed the App Store to make a version of Stadia that’ll run on an iPhone and iPad.
Photo: Google/Cult of Mac

Google followed through with a promise to make its Stadia cloud-gaming service available for iPhone and iPad. On Wednesday, the company starting the process of giving Apple mobile devices access to console-quality games, including Cyberpunk 2077.

But don’t look to the Stadia application in the App Store — the subscription service must be played through a web app.

Google Stadia for iPhone and iPad… at last

Like all cloud-gaming services, Stadia gives phones and tablets access to console-quality titles. Although these often have hefty hardware requirements, Google’s service lets beefy servers handle the heavy lifting and it just streams the action to players. Players have access to titles from Rockstar, Bungie, Square Enix, Ubisoft and many more.

But also like other cloud-gaming services, it’s not allowed in the App Store unless it follows strict guidelines from Apple. So Google developed a web app so games could be played in the Safari web browser.

Head to stadia.google.com to start playing.

But Google warns that, “Gameplay here is still in development.” And the service requires iOS 14.3, which debuted on Monday. And even then, some users currently can’t get in at all.

There are two pricing tiers. A standard Stadia account is free, and requires users to buy the games they want to play. Stadia Pro costs $9.99 per month and adds 4K HDR and 5.1 surround sound. It comes with some games, but most cost extra. A free one-month trial is available.

Other cloud-gaming options

Google Stadia is just one of several cloud-gaming options for iPhone and iPad. Amazon Luna for Apple devices is in beta testing, for example. And versions of both Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Game Pass are also in development.

These will all run on iOS and iPadOS devices as web apps. None of these companies were willing to put up with the restrictions required for any streaming game service to appear in the Apple App Store.

Apple Arcade is a horse of a different color. This subscription service allows users to download and play games on their handset, tablet or Mac.