Google’s Stadia streaming platform will launch later this year and ahead of that release, the company took to Reddit to answer a bunch of questions today. If you want to take a look at the thread for yourself, you can find it here, but below, I have posted the key questions that help to clarify the service, including new features that were not previously announced.
The AMA was hosted by Andrey Doronichev Director of Product for Stadia at Google:
Q – Can you clarify what the free game situation is for Stadia pro as it is confusing due to mixed messages
A – To be clear, Stadia Pro is not “Netflix for Games” like some people have mentioned, a closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus. The Pro subscribers get 4K/HDR streaming, 5.1 sound, exclusive discounts and access to some free games. Roughly one free game per month give or take. Starting with Destiny 2 (yay!).
Q – Are there plans for an achievement system?
A – Oh yes, achievements… as a lifelong gamer and a pathological overachiever, I love achievements! Of course, we’ll have something similar to other platforms. However, it will not be there immediately at launch. Will come a little bit later.
Q – When will more details about the UI coming?
A – You’ll see the UI in November, once we launch. For now you have to trust me – it’s looking good. We have a great UX team and we’re putting a lot of love into it.
Q – Will free to play games be available on Stadia Base?
A – No free games on Stadia Base. But hey, Stadia Base gives you free access to the state-of-the-art gaming hardware in our datacenter 😉 You spend your money to buy games you want.
Q – What announced features will be available at launch?
A – We’ll get all the basic functionality at launch – play games across screens, no waiting for downloads or patches, social, store, etc. Of course, it’s not going to be every feature we announced at our vision announcement at day 1. But that’s the beauty of a cloud platform – it’ll be constantly improving!
Q – If the Stadia service is discontinued, do we know what (if anything) will happen with game purchases? (Alternately, are they any minimum EoL guarantees, etc. You get the gist of it.)
A – We get this a lot. I hear you. Moving to the cloud is scary. I felt the same way when music was transitioning from files to streaming. I still have all my old CDs in the garage… although it’s hard to find a CD player these days 🙂
The same happened to Movies and Photos and my Docs and other files… And it’s great! Games are no different. Eventually, all of our games will be safely in the cloud too and we’ll feel great about it. We’ve been investing a ton in tech, infrastructure and partnerships over the past few years. Nothing in life is certain, but we’re committed to making Stadia a success.
The games you buy on Stadia are yours to play. From day one we’ll support Takeout, so that you can download your game metadata, including saves if you want to.
Of course, it’s ok to doubt my words. There’s nothing I can say now to make you believe if you don’t. But what we can do is to launch the service and continue investing in it for years to come. Exactly how we’ve been doing with Gmail, Docs, Music, Movies and Photos. That’s exactly what we’re committed to.
Q – Will Stadia have its own Global Chat and Friends System, or will it depend on the game developer to implement these features?
A – First and foremost, I personally think of Games as the main social platform of the future. So we’re investing a lot in Social, Communications and Safety on Stadia. At launch you’ll be able to manage your friends list, create parties and use platform-level voice chat. And that’s just the beginning. We also have a healthy pipeline of social features going forward.
Q- Does the controller support Bluetooth audio? Can I use Bluetooth headphones on Stadia?
A – The Stadia Controller comes with a headphone jack for wired audio, but won’t support Bluetooth audio at launch in November. If you’re playing on the computer or a Pixel phone you can connect the BT headset to it directly and use it in Stadia.
Q – Is there anything being done to combat Data caps? Or is that purely on us to converse with our ISPs? 50 dollars extra a month for me to just NOT have a data cap.
A- I can’t predict the future, but I’ve seen that ISPs adapted in the past – I saw it when I was at YouTube – and we’d expect that to continue. For players concerned about data usage we’ll definitely have some tools in the Stadia app to manage your data usage to adapt to your unique data situation, but I’m not sure if that will be on day one or a bit later. There’s a lot of great ISPs offering plans with 100s of mbps or even gigabits and no caps. We’re seeing different progress in different countries and are certainly expecting ISPs to continually improve the services.
Q – Can you discuss a little bit more about the plan for families? Like that of Google Play Music and YouTube TV?
A- I guess you’re asking about sharing content with Family members? Yes, we’ll enable Family Sharing early next year. Working on it, but won’t be ready by November — need a bit more time. At launch we’ll have Parental Dashboard to give parents control over their kid’s experience.
Q – When can we expect support for non-standard resolutions (ex. 3440×1440 or 3840×1080)?
A – We’re covering the most widely used resolutions first because, to be honest, we have to start somewhere 🙂 you can expect more options added as Stadia gets released into the wild.
Q – Any chance of steam partnership?
A – Great question! My PR guy will kill me…we’re always evaluating our options to make Stadia a better place for the gamers 🙂
Q – Will there be Mod Support for Stadia ?
A – In November, no. We’d like to in the future. We’re working with developers now to find the best way to do this.
Q – If you are streaming a game to your phone and are using the Stadia controller, does your phone and the Stadia controller have to be connected to the same WiFi network?
A – Yes, the controller and the screen must be on the same WiFi network to work, or you can plug the controller in via USB.
Q- Will there be any kind of support for alternative inputs like gyro or for wheel/pedal setups?
A – If it’s HID compliant we support it and we’re adding more controllers as we go.
For those who have been following Stadia closely, there isn’t a lot of new information but a few nuggets like achievement and family sharing accounts. During the AMA, Andrey hinted that they will have a Connect event soon that will unveil more information about the service.