Google Stadia Pro "Is Not Netflix For Games," Says Stadia Director Of Product

"You spend your money to buy games you want." As opposed to buying what I don't want?
The Stadia controller.
The Stadia controller. Google

Following its official announcement a few months ago, Google’s Stadia has been seeing a surge of marketing, promotions and a plethora of information about it being released to the public eye. With the official November launch still a few months away, there is still somewhat an air of mystery surrounding Google’s answer to console gaming, most of it stemming from the fact that it’s still quite unclear what the service is trying to be.

Well, if you’ve been following up on news regarding it lately, then you’re in luck, as Director of Product for Stadia Andrey Doronichev went on an official Reddit AMA over the weekend to answer more of the public’s burning questions with regards to the Stadia. There were a lot of questions answered, albeit danced around a number of times, but all in all it started to paint a clearer picture of the Stadia at large.

Here are some of the notable highlights:

“Can you clarify what the free game situation is for Stadia pro as it is confusing due to mixed messages”

“To be clear, Stadia Pro is not “Netflix for Games” like some people have mentioned, a closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus. 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!).”

“What is the primary feature of Stadia that you think will be the biggest needle mover in terms of innovation in the gaming space?”

“I think, the biggest is the fact that game developers don’t have to limit their creativity to whatever fits in a little black box under your TV. Since games will be running in the Cloud, we expect to see new games at scale never seen before. I can’t wait to see what that community can do with the power of this new architecture. I also think game design will evolve to accommodate for gamers accessing games anytime and on any device.”

Will free to play games be available on Stadia Base?

“No free games on Stadia Base. But hey, Stadia Base gives you free access to the state-of-the-art gaming hardware in our datacenter ;) You spend your money to buy games you want.”

“If the Stadia service is discontinued, do we know what (if anything) will happen with game purchases? (Alternately, are they any minimum EoL guarantees, etc. You get the gist of it.)”

“We get this a lot. I hear you. Moving to the cloud is scary. I felt the same way when music was transitioning from files to streaming. I still have all my old CDs in the garage… although it's hard to find a CD player these days :)

The same happened to Movies and Photos and my Docs and other files… And it’s great! Games are no different. Eventually all of our games will be safely in the cloud too and we'll feel great about it. We’ve been investing a ton in tech, infrastructure and partnerships over the past few years. Nothing in life is certain, but we’re committed to making Stadia a success.

The games you buy on Stadia are yours to play. From day one we’ll support Takeout, so that you can download your game metadata, including saves if you want to.

Of course, it’s ok to doubt my words. Theres nothing I can say now to make you believe if you don't. But what we can do is to launch the service and continue investing in it for years to come. Exactly how we've been doing with gMail, Docs, Music, Movies and Photos. That’s exactly what we’re committed to.”

“How committed is Google at large to Stadia? More people are worried about Google pulling the plug on the service and point at that as a reason they're not interested in the platform at all. Is there anything you are allowed to say in this topic?”

“Super committed. We have hundreds of passionate people who have spent years building it. We’ve invested a ton in tech, infrastructure and content. I’m so committed that i’m doing the first AMA in my life… even answering hot dog questions! :)”

“Is there anything being done to combat Data caps? Or is that purely on us to converse with our ISPs? 50 dollars extra a month for me to just NOT have a data cap.”

“I can’t predict the future, but I’ve seen that ISPs adapted in the past - I saw it when I was at YouTube - and we’d expect that to continue. For players concerned about data usage we’ll definitely have some tools in the Stadia app to manage your data usage to adapt to your unique data situation, but I’m not sure if that will be on day one or a bit later. There's a lot of great ISPs offering plans with 100s of mbps or even gigabits and no caps. We're seeing different progress in different countries and are certainly expecting ISPs to continually improve the services.”

“Is cross platform a realistic possibility or is it just something Stadia is hoping to achieve”

“We love cross-platform play and are working to get it with every game we can. Both cross-play and cross-progression are big priorities for us. Enabling both cross-play and cross-progression is up to each developer and publisher, but we’re doing everything we can to make it happen.”

And there you have it. If you read the entire AMA, and scroll down to the unanswered questions, it’s very clear that Google still does not want you talking about latency at all, which for me is the biggest issue with the Stadia. But, seeing as that AMA was pretty controlled and locked up tight, I can’t say I’m not surprised that the biggest issues for the service moving forward won’t be discussed.

In any case, the answered questions do tell a better story of what the Stadia will be, and should help people decide if this service is right for them or not. The hard part is telling who exactly is this service for – one that I hope to answer here.

Check out the entirety of the Reddit AMA here. Google Stadia is launching this November.

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