Stadia Chrome Extension Roundup

There have been a lot of Chrome extensions that add enhancements or features (some would say fixes) to Google’s Stadia. Since the first release of Stadia+ in January all the way through to the newly minted Stadia Enhanced, developers from around the world (but mostly Sweden) have been stepping up to fill the gaps that Google left behind. How do these extensions measure up and what are the differences between them? Let’s go on an adventure and take a look at them all together!

A Walk To A Few Things To Remember

There’s a couple things to keep in mind when using these extensions, that I want to get out of the way first thing.

1. All of these extensions are using the same method to “spoof” Google into sending you the 4K stream.

2. If your connection is bad, Google will dynamically reduce your resolution regardless of what any of these extensions try to do.

3. VP9 is _required_ for 4K resolution, and (last I checked) if your hardware doesn’t support VP9, none of the extensions below can force a 4K stream for you.

4. Will using these get you in trouble with Google? Maybe. No one knows yet. Probably not? I guess?

Stadia Stream Monitor

TL;DR Core Functionality - Display frame rate, codec, resolution, and other information in a small overlay while playing games.

This is an incredibly straightforward and A+ extension. It does one thing, and it does that one thing very well. If you’re looking for nothing more than to know the details of the stream you’re receiving, this is the extension for you. None of the bloat or features from the rest, just a small grey overlay which can be toggled on and off with CTRL+M.

StadiaRPC

TL;DR Core Functionality - Show off what you’re currently playing on Discord.

Honestly, this extension is an absolute shit show and I don’t even know if using it is Discord-legal or not. So beware. You might get banned from Discord for using this extension. BUT! If you want to display your Stadia “currently playing” status on Discord, it seems like this is currently the only option.

Why Does It Suck So Much?

It’s hard to know exactly why any one thing can suck this hard, but I’m glad you asked anyway. In order to get this working, you need to not only install this extension, but an entirely different other extension, AND a desktop application. Thankfully the desktop app is open source and posted on github, so someone has probably looked at the code to make sure it’s not stealing credit card numbers or my curated collection of bible verses. Then, keep in mind that it will only show your status while you’re playing in Chrome, not on the Chromecast (of course), but also you need to make sure the StadiaRPC desktop app is running at the same time.

In my opinion, this is way too much effort just to display your current Stadia status. Please Google. Call up Susan Discord or whoever runs the show over there at Nitro Inc and get a proper integration hashed out.

TouchStadia

TL;DR Core Functionality - Add on-screen touch controls when playing Stadia on your phone.

This extension is pretty niche, but if you’re looking to add touch controls to your tablet, this is probably the best way to do it. It has a lot of positive reviews and I have to assume it works well, but I haven’t tested this extension myself because… touch controls are stupid. Yeah, I said it. Come at me.

The Stadia+

The Stadia Plus is a silly add-on that changes all the text of “Stadia” on stadia.com to “The Stadia.” It also allows the user to enforce the VP9 codec and 4K resolution. Do with that what you will.

Stadia+

TL;DR Core Functionality - Clean up the Stadia interface. Adds search, filtering, enforcing codec and resolutions.
 

Stadia+ was the breath of fresh air we all needed when it first launched in January, adding search capability to the library and store (why is this STILL not implemented, Google?!). It’s come a long way since then, adding in a huge number of new features, expanding the functionality well beyond it’s humble beginnings. Today Stadia+ offers not just search and filtering, but also a stream monitor to display your current frame rate and resolution during games, a codec/resolution switcher to enforce VP9 and 4K on supported devices, and most recently an associated web app has been released which allows you to view and compare your games and achievement progress with friends.

Stadia Enhanced

TL;DR Core Functionality - Cleans up the existing Stadia interface. Adds search and filtering to your Library and the Store. Force codec and resolution. Direct links to Pro games and screenshots. Make the game boxes smaller on the home screen so they take up less space.

Stadia Enhanced is a new entrant in the battlefield of Stadia extensions, having just been released a few days ago. It began life as a tampermonkey script allowing you to filter and search your library or store by manipulating the URL you visited. It’s now been released as a proper extension modifying the interface, making use of those original URLs. This extension covers a lot of the same things Stadia+ does, and if you read the previous summary you already know what to expect here. You can filter your library and games, there’s a search bar, you can force a codec and resolution. So which one should you use?

Should I Use Stadia+ or Stadia Enhanced?

This is a personal decision based on looks more than anything else… is what I would say if I didn’t have an opinion. But I always do.

Stadia+: Every enhancement that you can think of for Stadia is covered. The developer is very active on the Stadia discord and quick to help out with problems. On the other hand, it’s a little too bloated at this point. Stadia+ implements a lot of great ideas that frankly Google should have implemented a long time ago, but because of the breadth of what it covers, it feels like this extension is an overhaul of Stadia rather than a subtle enhancement.

Stadia Enhanced: It’s new, it’s fresh. People like new things. The dev here was able to expand on the basics that Stadia+ gave us and put them in a shiny new wrapper.

My bottom line? Enhanced is prettier, but Plus offers a buttload more features.

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