Google's big game in the realization of game streaming – Stadia – is scheduled to go live sometime in November. That's less than four months away. To answer questions and get more information about Google's upcoming games streaming platform, Stadia's product director Andey Doronichev staged an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Stadia Subreddit.
We covered many of these questions when we interviewed Doronichev in June, but it is heartening to see that many of these things have not changed suddenly since then. The AMA questions ranged from basic things like the number of free spins that Stadia Pro users receive for $ 10 a month to "Is a hot dog a sandwich?".
What is the difference between Stadia Pro and Stadia Base?
On the topic of free spins, Doronichev made it clear that a Stadia Pro subscription is not a "Netflix of games" where users get unrestricted access to all titles of the service. Instead, Doronichev described a Stadia Pro subscription as something closer to Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus, offering access to a pool of free games and features such as support for 4K / HDR streaming, 5.1 sounds and elusive discounts.
The launch will be Stadia's first free game for pro-users Destiny 2 where Google announces that the pool of free spins will grow over time at the rate of about one game per month. This means that about 12 free games should be available to Stadia Pro subscribers after one year. However, if you cancel your Pro-Sub and return to Stadia's free base, you will lose access to these games until you log in again.
In the meantime, Stadia Base (Google's free service level) will work much like Steam. Here users can buy games individually. Instead of downloading these games and installing them on a home PC, Stadia games are simply streamed in the hosted cloud and then streamed to a local device. For the base level, users are limited to resolutions of 1080P / 60FPS and stereo sound.
What about free games such as Fornite Warframe etc? [19659006<Unfortunatelythisone-largequestionnairedidnotanswertheDoronichevdortThereisalargenumberoffreegamessuchas Fornite which seem well suited for stadiums. Currently, it's not clear if you need a Stadia Pro subscription to play free games, though I suspect that is not a requirement. It would not come as a surprise to me if free games are available to both Pro users and Base users, while Google earns money with cutting back on micro-transactions purchased through their in-game stores.
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What features will be available for launch?
Starting in November (which will be available only to Stadia Pro subscribers, the free base will not be available until early 2020), said Doronichev Stadia includes all the basic features of the service, such as the ability to play on multiple devices, without having to install games or patches manually, built-in social functions (hold parties, manage friends list, use voice chat) and of course Stadia game shop. According to Doronichev, Google is also working on a performance system that will not be ready for launch yet.
Later, Google plans to extend the list of compatible devices from Stadia to more phones (originally only support Pixel phones) and streaming boxes like Nvidia Shield. When asked about a possible partnership with Steam, Doronichev would only say that Google "always evaluates our options to make Stadia a better place for the players".
Does Stadia support wireless audio?
This depends on which device you use for Stadia. If you're streaming Stadia with a Chromecast Ultra connected to a Stadia controller, you'll need to use cable headsets. This is because the Stadia controller has built-in Bluetooth, but support for wireless audio is not available at startup. Google is likely to support Bluetooth headsets and headsets in the future.
However, if you stream Stadia on a laptop or phone (this works only over Wi-Fi, not over 4G), you can connect Bluetooth headsets if you want.
How will Stadia founders choose their handles?
One incentive for Google to opt for the Stadia Founder Edition is the ability to choose your Stadia username before the regular users. To facilitate this, Stadia sends an e-mail "just before" the Founder Edition arrives and asks users to reserve a username. The first emails will be sent depending on the time of purchase of pre-orders.
What happens to your games when Stadia goes down?
Obviously, Google would prefer that this never happens, and Doronichev said Google is "super engaged" to make Stadia successful. However, in the case of a staged shutdown, Doronichev said that "the games you buy from Stadia are yours," and Stadia will support Google's takeout feature so users can download game stores, metadata, and more.
However, it is not clear what will happen to the games themselves and whether they can continue to play in the cloud when Stadia is closed.
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
While I disagree, Doronichev said, "Hot dog is definitely not a sandwich … it's so much more," before he countered with a question of his own: "Is breakfast cereal a soup?"
That's So right now, but stay tuned for another Stadia Connect, as Doronichev said the next Connect will happen "sooner than you think …".