With Google Stadia’s Nov. 2019 launch is edging closer, the company took to Reddit today in an (ongoing) AMA session to answer community questions about its upcoming service. Director of Product Andrey Doronichev remains on hand at the time of writing responding with information that honestly retreats ground already covered for the most part. But there have been a couple of interesting new details; namely, that while Google plans for Stadia to have achievements, they won’t be ready for its launch.
When asked by Reddit user thestadiacrowd whether there “will free to play games be available on Stadia Base,” Doronichev answered:
“Oh yes, achievements… as a lifelong gamer and a pathological overachiever, I love achievements! Of course we’ll have something similar to other platforms. However, it will not be there immediately at launch. Will come a little bit later.”
While it’s good to hear official confirmation that Stadia will certainly include achievements, it does come as a bit of surprise the service won’t include them at launch –particularly so when you consider that Google Play Games already has a trophy system.
Quite why the development team is postponing integrating the same sort of functionality for the big launch of Stadia we’re not quite sure. It seems like a bit of an oversight, though.
In addition to thestadiacrowd’s achievement question, the user also asked:
- Can you clarify what the free game situation is for Stadia pro as it is confusing due to mixed messages
- When will more details about the UI coming?
- Will free to play games be available on Stadia Base?
- What announced features will be available at launch?
While the information in regards to whether Stadia Base includes free games has actually already been answered, the other questions there did prompt Doronichev to drop some other interesting tidbits. His responses were as follows (in order):
- 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!).
- You’ll see the UI in November, once we launch. For now you have to trust me – it’s looking good. We have a great UX team and we’re putting a lot of love into it.
- 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.
- We’ll get all the basic functionality at launch – play games across screens, no waiting for downloads or patches, social, store, etc. Of course it’s not going to be every feature we announced at our vision announcement at day 1. But that’s the beauty of a cloud platform – it’ll be constantly improving!
The first response is an interesting one, in particular, as Doronichev makes sure to reiterate that Stadia isn’t a subscription service comparable to Netflix. We’ve known that for quite some time, of course, but it’s an example of how mixed messaging across its reveal presentation and first Connect livestream has muddied the water a little.
While Google certainly seems to believe its strategy makes sense, it remains unclear whether decisions like charging per individual game and a lack of achievement functionality hinder its market penetration at launch. Certainly, the NPD group doesn’t believe it will do much to disrupt the status quo in 2019.
Elsewhere, Ubisoft reaffirmed its belief and commitment to the platform, stating how happy it was with the current partnership with Google.