Yesterday at GDC 2019, Google announced Google Stadia, its game-streaming, and game-sharing platform. While the company shared lots about its ambitious new gaming project, confirming several games and explaining how the platform works, Google was noticeably quiet about Stadia's price.
In post-launch interviews, Google hasn't been any more forthcoming about how much Stadia will cost. The company will likely keep things under wraps until the second major Google Stadia event like this. However, it is possible to make some educated guesses.
The most popular (and the most likely) suggestion that has been going around is that Google Stadia will be available with a subscription. Comparative game streaming services, such as Sony's PlayStation Now and Microsoft's Xbox GamePass, allow people to pay a subscription fee to access everything on the platform. Getting loyal customers paying recurring subscription fees is a lot more valuable (and is more logical, in business terms) than one-off payments to unlock individual games.
Many are also expecting Google Stadia subscriptions to be tiered. At a base level, Google Stadia may be able to access a small selection of games. Then, Google may offer a higher-priced tier that offers access to first-party exclusive games, and at the highest level subscribers can access features like cross-play and cross-saves.
While this is just speculation, this sort of subscription model has been rolled out by other companies such as publisher EA, which launched the Origin Access Premier service last year. With Premier, people get access to more games, DLC, full games, and microtransaction bonuses. A similar model would allow Google to get revenue from those who are on the fence and would like to test out Stadia before they move to a higher pricing tier.
As for the price, Google Stadia has a lot of competition and so it can't be hugely more expensive than other game streaming services. Stadia may be more powerful that the PS4 and Xbox One combined, but price too high and the competition will crush the new Google venture. For comparison, an annual PlayStation Now subscription costs $100 and Xbox GamePass is $120 for the year.
At an estimate, looking at everything Google Stadia offers and the games and features it may support, for the year it will likely cost between $180 - $240 ($15 - $20 a month) at a base level. This is equivalent to three or four brand new games a year. Some may well sign up for the fact that they will save money on new game purchases, consoles, and annual multiplayer subscriptions. At that price, Google Stadia could be hugely popular but it's down to Google to officially announce its business model.