It’s not long until Google Stadia’s launch in November 2019 and to clear up some of the uncertainties around what the streaming service will offer, product director, Andrey Doronichev, has taken to Reddit (opens in new tab) for an AMA.
One of the biggest misunderstandings cleared up in the course of the questioning is whether or not the Google Stadia Pro subscription is some kind of ‘Netflix for Games’, as the Google Stadia website (opens in new tab) makes reference to to “an ever-expanding library of free games.” It absolutely isn’t.
“A closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus,” Doronichev explains, “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!).”
If Pro subscribers want any other games on top of the free monthly game, they’ll pay full price for them (opens in new tab) on top of their £8.99/$9.99 per month subscription, although there will be some Stadia Pro exclusive discounts to sweeten the deal.
If you unsubscribe and then re-subscribe to Pro later, you’ll regain access to the free games you claimed during your subscription but you’ll have missed out on the games that were free when you were unsubscribed. So, if you want that free Destiny 2 access you better make sure you’re there at launch.
If you’re looking to hold out for Stadia Base, the free version of the service launching in 2020, don’t, unsurprisingly, expect any free games or exclusive discounts.
When the Stadia Pro launches this year, all of the service’s basic functionalities, including the game store, the ability to play across multiple devices and some built-in social features, will be up and running. But there is a post-launch pipeline for more features.
In the future, for example, Google will be looking to add support for more devices, including smartphones (the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a will be the only phones supported at launch) and streaming boxes.
It’s also worth noting that Stadia controllers won’t work with Bluetooth headsets at launch. There will be a workaround where players using a Google Chrome browser or a Pixel 3 phone will be able to connect their headset to their laptop or phone instead. Otherwise, there’s still a headphone jack on the controller for wired headsets until that Bluetooth support expands.
Despite this AMA, there are still some questions around Google Stadia across the gaming community. But Google is attempting to make it clear that it’s committed to game streaming in the long term and to appeal to those looking for the freedom of playing the latest games without downloads, updates or hardware restrictions.