Google Stadia, the game streaming service from Google, is launching on November 19, and it is coming without a ton of features that the search giant promised to the users. When first announced, the Stadia gaming service met with a lot of negative critical reception.
Several video game journalists pointed out the absurdity of paying $10.99 per month to be able to stream games at 4k 60 FPS resolution while also paying $60 extra into buying the game you want to play.
Add to the above expenses the considerable cost of Internet bandwidth required to stream 4k video on your screen for all the hours you decide to play, and the Google Stadia already start looking quite the non-consumer friendly product.
However, some recent points surfaced during the Google Stadia AMA on Reddit, revealing that players are not going to get even the basic things on which the service was marketed. And people are beginning to think that Google will pull its infamous plug on this service before it even gets a chance to launch properly.
Google Stadia: Launch Games Are Weak
During the Reddit AMA, it was revealed that on launch day, the Google Stadia wouldn’t feature some very important features including, no buddy pass for your friend, no support for Google Assistant, no multiplayer via Stream connect, etc.
What’s really troublesome is that players won’t be able to stream 4k HDR gameplay on their Chromebooks and on Chromecast Ultras. You can only use the Chromecast that comes bundled with the Google Stadia Founder’s edition while the normal Chromecasts will be updated with a firmware sometime later.
Google Stadia has already delayed several of its other features, including Bluetooth support for controllers. Players would have to plug them in using USB-C cables into their streaming devices.
On top of all of this, Google Stadia is only offering 12 games at launch. Most of them are old titles like Tomb Raider, Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Mortal Kombat 11, etc. A Google exclusive game, known as Kine, is also available at launch.
However, Google has promised to bring in newer titles like Borderlands 3, Ghost Recon: BreakPoint, Rage 2, Darksiders: Genesis, etc. to the platform before this year ends.
The much-anticipated Crowd Play support, which, according to Google, would allow game streamers to play with their audience, is also delayed for next year. Family Sharing is another feature that was supposed to allow multiple family members to share accounts and play. But unfortunately, it won’t be available when Google Stadia launches.
In addition, Google representative also said during an AMA session that players would need a smartphone for the initial device setup and every time when they want to buy a game. During the Stadia reveal, a few months back, Google also introduced its version of in-game achievements dubbed “Google Achievements,” and it will be available at the time of the launch. However, players won’t be able to see or access their Google Achievements on the launch day.
At this point, there are not many features in the Google Stadia service that were promised earlier. The service is very “bare-bones” at this point, meaning you can play some games without utilizing the full potential of the Google Stadia platform.
In order to reassure people’s trust in the service, a representative from Google said, “Our approach to releasing features on Stadia is similar to how we run Google Search, YouTube, and other Google services; gradual rollout and continuous improvement, based on your feedback. We always start with nailing the key user journey and then proceed with releasing extra features.”
One of the game developers working at Google, Gwen Frey, who developed the earlier mentioned video game, Kine, spoke of the fear publishers have regarding Google Stadia. She said she is worried that Google will pull the plug on their service, similar to how it has done with Google+ and a bunch of other services.
But showing some optimism, she also said, “This is tech. The default state is failure. But this is really cool, and it could really change things.”
Should You Cancel Your Google Stadia Subscription
Although things might look really bad for Google Stadia, you should hold on to your subscription for at least a little while. Google Stadia has the potential to change things, and if anyone can get the game streaming right, it is Google.
I think that Google is focusing all its resources on establishing a base functionality first. They want to make sure that you can stream your game without any lag, albeit at a lower resolution and HDR.
Once they’ve established this basic functionality, then they can move upward and add additional ones. It might be a slap in the face of consumers who were expecting a fully playable service from Google, and what Stadia is, at the moment, cannot be called anything other than a Beta service.