The official launch of Stadia is only days away, so Google recently hosted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) and we have some more details to share about it.
After finding out recently it's only going to have 12 games at launch, we have been wondering exactly what else from their service is going to be missing in action at launch. Now we know there's going to be a number of other limitations, thanks to the question and answer session. Here's a few newer details:
- Google are going for a "gradual rollout and continuous improvement" approach based on feedback. With new features coming as early as a week after launch and possibly new features on a weekly basis.
- You absolutely need an Android or iOS mobile device for Stadia, even if you're going to use a PC. The initial setup and to even buy games actually requires the Stadia mobile application. For playing on mobiles, Google will start by letting you play only on their Pixel line with it eventually rolling out to Apple devices and other Androids.
- Only the Chromecast Ultra will work with 4K at launch. While playing on PC in a Chrome browser will work it is limited to 1080p, PC with Chrome will not yet support 4K, HDR or 5.1 Surround Sound.
- They're not announcing the line-up of games included to play free in the Pro subscription yet. Apart from the already announced Destiny 2. If you stop paying for Pro, you lose games accessed with it.
- The State Share feature, that allows people to jump into games at a specific point, and the Crowd Play to let people watching you join in will both be missing at launch. The first games to support them will come next year.
- You won't be able to even view any achievements. The UI for it is not ready but you will still earn them right away there's just nothing available to see them.
- If you have a family, you will be able to buy Stadia games for them but there's currently no Family Sharing feature. They said it's a high priority though, to come next year.
- Stadia Names must be between 3 and 15 characters, letters or numbers.
- There will not be another Stadia Connect video before launch.
- You will be able to access Stadia even before your hardware arrives, as they will be emailing access codes to people when they ship the Founder and Premier Editions. So you can play on PC right away.
I said before this Debian Linux + Vulkan API powered streaming service faced an uphill battle, now it sounds like more of a mountain.
Overall, I can't help but feel like this is really a Beta/Soft Launch under a poor disguise given just how limited the Stadia service is actually going to be. Given the high price of entry for the Founder and Premier Editions it's a bit laughable really.