Google’s Stadia game streaming service launches in just a few days, and some of the developers have taken to Reddit to host a surprisingly honest AMA (Ask Me Anything). The devs fielded questions ranging from how achievements will work to when iOS support will roll out. Unfortunately, the AMA revealed that device support will be very limited at launch, and some of Google’s core features won’t work right away.
Google has moved with incredible speed to get Stadia ready for launch. It was just a year ago that Google tested its cloud gaming technology with Project Stream in the Chrome browser. However, it apparently has not had time to get all the necessary apps and streaming technologies ready to go.
At launch, the only people playing Stadia will be those with Founder’s Edition bundles. Those kits come with a Chromecast Ultra, and it’ll be a special Chromecast Ultra. It will feature newer software that supports Stadia, and other Chromecasts Ultras won’t have that until sometime later. So, if you were hoping to play Stadia games on more than one TV, that’s not going to be possible at launch. While Google plans to support iOS, that app won’t be ready at launch. In fact, the Google dev couldn’t even speculate on whether it would be early or later in 2020.
Several signature features of Stadia won’t be ready at launch even if you do have compatible devices. Games will support achievements, and the developers say Stadia will track them. However, there won’t be any way to see your achievements because the UI for that isn’t done yet. Family sharing won’t work out of the gate, either. Eventually, that should allow multiple family members to share a game like they would with a “real” console. However, you’ll need to buy multiple copies of games if you want more than one person to have access at launch. If you want to play with non-Founder friends, you’ll have to wait at least two weeks. That’s when the promised “Buddy Pass” codes will work. The custom Stream Connect multiplayer feature is not supported by any of the 12 launch titles, but Google hopes to have at least one game featuring that by the end of 2020.
There is some good news, though. The Googlers confirm that Stadia will support moving a game session between devices. Your game instances will remain active for about 10 minutes, allowing you to fire up the stream on the screen of your choice. Google will also offer a smartphone mount called “The Claw” for the Stadia controller. Of course, it won’t be available at launch.
The first Founder’s Edition bundles should arrive on the 18th, but many buyers report delivery dates into December. One of the Googlers in the AMA offered to hand-deliver a kit to someone in the Bay Area. That’s a nice gesture, but it’s also emblematic of the messy launch.
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