Next week, Google will launch one of its most anticipated products in recent memory. Stadia, the company’s new game-streaming service, is nearly here and thanks to a Reddit AMA yesterday, we have a few more details about how the service will operate.
Next week, if you pre-ordered a Founders Edition, you will have access to the service as soon as your controller ships. Google says that you will be emailed activation information that will let you play games in your browser with a keyboard+mouse or compatible HID controller.
The company also says that they will be adding features rapidly, much like they do with search or YouTube which is a good thing as there are quite a few items that are missing on day one.
For instance, achievements will not be working at launch. The company says that the functionality will be added shortly after launch but the first day, they will not work. That being said, any achievements earned during this blackout period will still unlock once the functionality is operational.
When it comes to playing on the TV in your house, you will only be able to use the Chromecast Ultra that ships with the device initially. Your existing Chromecast Ultra will not work initially as it needs a software update that will be arriving in the near future. Once that update does arrive, you should be able to use any Chromecast Ultra with Stadia.
For those of you with multiple family members who will want to use Stadia, Family Link (the ability to manage your child’s experience on Stadia) will be functional on day one but Family Sharing will not work. This means that you will need to purchase a game twice if you want two kids to be able to stream it at the same time – Google says this feature is expected to launch early next year.
Also missing will be State Share, a feature that allows you to load into a specific point-in-time that was shared with you by another player. Crowd Play will also be missing from launch, a feature that allows those watching someone streaming the game to jump in and join them. And Stream Connect, a Stadia feature that lets you stream one player’s game directly into another’s, will also not work at launch.
One of the benefits of buying the Founders Edition is the Buddy Pass. These passes allow for a friend to join Stadia for three months for free but will not be distributed until a couple of weeks after the initial launch.
Google also unveiled its data usage controls that may have a big impact for users with limited caps. At the best visual quality, you can use up to 20GB and hour and at limited usage, roughly 720P, it will be 4.5GB/hr. For those with any sort of data cap, these figures will certainly be alarming as it will be quite easy to blow through a data cap at 4K.
Next week Stadia will finally become a commercial service for Google. While the launch may be lacking features and there are other barriers like the high-data usage, new product launches should be taken with a pink of optimism as the service should only improve over time.
Google is the first out of the gate with its new service but Microsoft and others are not far behind. At the end of the day, if you don’t like the restrictions or pricing, you will soon have multiple options for streaming games to any device in your home.