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With Google's game streaming service Stadia inching closer, we have some more information to share about it. Part of this, is thanks to a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) they did on Reddit. I've gone over what questions they answered, to give you a little overview.

Firstly, a few points about the Stadia Pro subscription: The Pro subscription is not meant to be like a "Netflix for Games", something people seem to think Stadia will end up as. Google said to think of it more like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus. They're aiming to give Pro subscribers one free game a month "give or take". If you cancel Stadia Pro, you will lose access to free games claimed. However, you will get the previously claimed games back when you re-subscribe but not any you missed while not subscribed.

As for Stadia Base, as expected there will be no free games included. As already confirmed, both will let you buy games as normal.

We've still not seen what the UI will look like, but they did say it will be shown off before launch in November. As for features, it's launching with a basic set like being able to "play games across screens, no waiting for downloads or patches, social, store, etc". For social features at launch, you can "manage your friends list, create parties and use platform-level voice chat". However, Achievements will not be enabled at launch but they will come "a little bit later".

Stadia supports standard HID gamepads so Xbox Controller, DualShock 4 and likely many more. This shouldn't be too surprising, since Stadia is apparently using SDL (source). If you want to play on your TV, it will require a Stadia Controller and a Chromecast Ultra.

One thing I've seen people worry about (and I do share this worry), is what happens to games if Google decided to shut down Stadia? Google do have a history of starting things, going a few years and then stopping. Answering that, they said they will support "Takeout", so you can download "your game metadata, including saves if you want to". However, they said nothing about getting an actual download of your game in that case.

Modding support is something else people have been curious about and Google have confirmed Stadia does not support mods. However, they would like to and said they're "working with developers now to find the best way to do this".

As for cross-platform play, they said "cross-play and cross-progression are big priorities for us" and so it should be. Locking multiplayer behind closed doors just isn't what people want, where it makes sense for the type of game, it should be allowed and be possible so I'm happy that Google are well aware of this.

In regards to a question about Linux support, they said "Stadia will run in full desktop or laptop Chrome browsers.". They've been clearly steering away from mentioning any specific operating system, only that you simply need a Chrome browser and that's all across desktops and laptops. Project Stream (which Stadia was built upon), worked fine on Linux so I expect no issues there. Especially since the person from Google answering the questions, said they're most proud of "playing Assassin’s Creed on my son’s dirt-cheap Chromebook" so there's absolutely no reason why it won't work on a normal Linux distribution.

Since it will work on Linux and it's powered by Vulkan and Debian Linux, it's going to be interesting to try. I'm not sold on it personally but as a tech enthusiast I want to give it a go. For online-only games, that don't work on Linux and will likely never run on Linux, Stadia could be a pretty great option for us.

As an additional note, one not from the Reddit AMA, Ubisoft had some positive words to say about Stadia. Including that it doesn't cost them much extra to support it. We already knew they were planning to get their Uplay+ subscription library on Stadia, so that's not too surprising. The difference between supporting Stadia and the Linux desktop, is of course Stadia being one set configuration and a bigger market share.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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58 comments
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ixnari 20 July 2019 at 4:47 pm UTC
JaromirIt is always funny to read the random comments.

The team at Google Stadia mentioned that privacy will be “at the user's control".

Oh
, I'm sure.
Dunc 20 July 2019 at 4:53 pm UTC
I can't put it any better than Shamus Young at the Escapist:
QuoteFive years of Stadia will set you back $700, at bare minimum. (That’s the cost of the Founder’s Edition — which comes with three free months of premium access — and the monthly fee over the next 57 months.)

Who is this service for? It’s supposedly for people who want to play AAA games but don’t have access to AAA hardware. It’s for people who are into hardcore games but don’t mind an unavoidable baseline of input lag. It’s for people who can’t afford a $400 console but can afford to buy games at full price and pay an additional $120 every single year. It’s for people who have lots of devices who somehow don’t own any dedicated gaming hardware. (...)

Stadia is for casual gamers who are into hardcore titles and poor people with lots of disposable income. This is a service for nobody, and it makes no sense.
Jaromir 20 July 2019 at 5:04 pm UTC
ixnari
JaromirIt is always funny to read the random comments.

The team at Google Stadia mentioned that privacy will be “at the user's control".

Oh
, I'm sure.

It is good that you are so wary about privacy. But let's face it, which secrets can Google steal when you play Assassin's Creed Odyssey?

And that link with regard to the "gmail data" is not entirely applicable to Stadia:

"The account you use for Stadia is built on top of your Google account, but of course you'll be able to have an online persona that is distinct and different from your Google persona. We're committed to protecting and respecting users' privacy every step of the way. "
Jaromir 20 July 2019 at 5:12 pm UTC
LunielleI'm completely against Stadia, it's not "convinient" in any way, you need an internet connection, there's no way to play offline, do we really need an internet connection for single player games? No thanks. But most importantly, it's stealing all of our rights, locking our games behind a suscription, we'll stop owning our games forever, they'll never get coin from me. This is the reason why I still buy physical games when I have the chance to nowadays, I like to own my games, not paying a company like Google to "let me play their games".

The only two things you specifically mention are: 1) the internet is needed and 2) the digital rights.

I think Netflix has proven that both things are not a major obstacle for most people.

And Stadia is convenient in just about all areas.
Salvatos 20 July 2019 at 5:16 pm UTC
KimyrielleAlso, hardcore gamers don't care about spending money for a good machine, while they DO care about any sort of FPS drops or ping lag, either of which is unavoidable when streaming. On the other hand, casual gamers don't need to stream either, because their office PC or standard gaming console can run their handful of no-so performance hungry games well enough, and doing so is considerably cheaper in the long run than paying a Stadia sub.
I feel like the gaming market is much less binary than you make it sound here. I'm sure even hardcore gamers wouldn't mind spending less money on gaming if the quality were comparable (which is probably doubtful in this case due to lag, but the other benefits could sway slightly less hardcore gamers). And while extremely casual gamers might only need a smartphone or a tablet, there's a pretty wide range of gamers in between that enjoy or would enjoy sometimes-demanding games that their current machine may or may not be able to run properly. I myself tend to buy games years after release because I don't like to upgrade my rig too often, even though it's no longer because I can't afford to.

For anyone who doesn't have a powerful computer, no matter the reason (price, access, need vs. focus on gaming, etc.), a streaming service can be a useful way to access more games and more demanding games:
- no initial download means if you have a decent enough connection for streaming videos at laptop resolution but downloading a 100-GB game would take a day, here you can play immediately;
- if you don't have unlimited bandwidth, it's probably easier to fit some more hours of video streaming in your monthly allowance than a large game download (or several);
- if your disk space is limited, you don't have to sacrifice hundreds of gigs for games, especially those you don't play often but don't want to re-download each time;
- and of course everything related to having a good enough CPU, GPU or even driver/library/OS version;
- bonus: and it's probably even safer since you have fewer programs installed that can introduce vulnerabilities, and faster if you're on Windows because it's fewer files for your bloated antivirus to scan through

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still not interested personally, not least because it has Google's tentacles in it, but I can absolutely see practical benefits to it.

DuncI can't put it any better than Shamus Young at the Escapist:
QuoteFive years of Stadia will set you back $700, at bare minimum. (That’s the cost of the Founder’s Edition — which comes with three free months of premium access — and the monthly fee over the next 57 months.)

Who is this service for? It’s supposedly for people who want to play AAA games but don’t have access to AAA hardware. It’s for people who are into hardcore games but don’t mind an unavoidable baseline of input lag. It’s for people who can’t afford a $400 console but can afford to buy games at full price and pay an additional $120 every single year. It’s for people who have lots of devices who somehow don’t own any dedicated gaming hardware. (...)

Stadia is for casual gamers who are into hardcore titles and poor people with lots of disposable income. This is a service for nobody, and it makes no sense.
Those are all very good points, but it only really applies to the Pro subscription. If you go with a free account, you only really need to buy the games (as is already the case) but no longer need an up-to-date gaming PC.

JaromirAnd that link with regard to the "gmail data" is not entirely applicable to Stadia:

"The account you use for Stadia is built on top of your Google account, but of course you'll be able to have an online persona that is distinct and different from your Google persona. We're committed to protecting and respecting users' privacy every step of the way. "
To me that only seems to say that you can change your display name on the service. It's still the same account and they can tie everything you do and say to it.


Last edited by Salvatos at 20 July 2019 at 5:20 pm UTC
TimeFreeze 20 July 2019 at 5:19 pm UTC
Not interested in Stadia. Simply because i dont like Streaming Services.
kaiman 20 July 2019 at 5:20 pm UTC
GustyGhostThis will be great for anyone who wants a 3rd party to have complete control over their access to games. At that point, you're not even renting.
And that's one reason I will stay wide away from this. The others being privacy concerns and Chrome.

I mean I see the appeal of playing hardware-hungry games on cheap client systems or for playing games that are not compatible on the OS level, but personally I'd rather not play these than giving up possession of the game binaries and assets (I've already given up on getting a box, disc and printed manual).


One question that also comes to mind is how game streaming might change games as a whole, if it ever catches on. I'm pretty sure it's not good for business if people keep streaming the same game (they paid once) again and again. So it's either in-game advertising, micro transactions, shorter or generally less re-playable games (or a mix of those), neither of which I find potentially appealing.
Schattenspiegel 20 July 2019 at 5:59 pm UTC
Let me think... when was the last time I watched a flawless live-stream or played an online game without regular latency, connection or server issues... still thinking...
Jaromir 20 July 2019 at 6:08 pm UTC
SchattenspiegelLet me think... when was the last time I watched a flawless live-stream or played an online game without regular latency, connection or server issues... still thinking...

That's why Google is one of the few companies that can get these things done.

Miles Ward: "You may have heard of this other network, it's called the internet; well, our network is five times its size."

"Google's infrastructure is freaking ridiculous. It actually has multiple Cloud networks in place already that have been used to support gaming initiatives for years. One – cleverly titled Google Cloud – is primarily being used to help bring down latency times on a suite of upcoming mobile game platforms and experiences, although it was more recently used by Ubisoft to host The Division 2 in the Cloud and support the developer's real-time triple-A gaming endeavours."
Purple Library Guy 20 July 2019 at 7:18 pm UTC
EgonautEveryone should be alarmed before buying games at Stadia, as the games are in Stadia only and google has a tendency to cancel projects very often. The other reason why I'm not interested in using Stadia is the spying of Google. Usually you would think that they don't use your data, as you are paying, but everything Stadia is connected to their other services, which all spy on you.
I don't disagree with you on the spying, but c'mon. That ship has sailed. The corps know all they understand how to ask about me. So far, it hasn't actually led to me ever once buying something because I saw an ad for it online, so that knowledge hasn't maybe gotten them quite as much as they might have hoped, but they have it.
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