Google has updated the FAQs on its support page for the upcoming Google Stadia game streaming service, addressing several questions that potential users might have. The new information could help sway people who have so far been undecided about whether they want to give game streaming a chance. The issues addressed range from what happens to games if publishers decide to pull out, how multiplayer games will work, the functionality of the Stadia Controller, and more. The most interesting new bit of information is that users will not lose games that they have paid for if a publisher or studio decides to pull out of the platform.
Games might be withdrawn from sale, but they will remain accessible and playable to users in their accounts. According to Google, once you buy a game, you have the right to play it. However, the company does allow for unspecified “unforseen circumstances” that might prevent previously purchased games from remaining available to buyers.
Stadia games will be able to support up to four players participating in local multi-player using four controllers on one account. The service will also support fully multiplayer online games. Multiplayer games will be available when the service is officially launched in November this year, and Google says it is constantly working on bringing more titles and developers onto the platform.
When the service goes live, it will be supported only on the Google Pixel 3 family, tablets running Chrome OS, and the Chromecast Ultra. The Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL (Review), Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL (Review) will all work, and Google says it is working on expanding support to more Android devices. Presumably, the service will also work on Google’s Pixel 4 models which should be announced before November. Users can however buy games and manage their content from any device running at least iOS 11 or Android 6.
The Stadia Controller is not required, and users can instead use any HID-compliant USB controller. Conversely, the Stadia Controller will work as a standard HID device for other devices and games. When used wirelessly, the device will use Bluetooth Low Energy to establish pairing and Wi-Fi for actual gameplay.
Google has also clarified that first-party content from its in-house Stadia Games and Entertainment studio will be available on the platform, and that Daydream and other VR headsets are not compatible at this time. If games stutter or your Internet connection is lost, your progress will be held for a few minutes so that you can try to re-establish your connection. Cross-platform play is not explicitly supported, but Google says it wants to work with developers in this regard.
Google Stadia is set to go live in November this year in the USA and 13 other countries with a Founders Edition programme that costs $130. The service is not expected to come to India till 2021. Google has confirmed that 31 games will be offered at launch time, including Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Doom Eternal, GRID, The Division 2, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
The company has not yet spoken about how much data will be required for game streaming, and how Stadia will affect some users’ bandwidth caps or FUPs. However, Google VP Phil Harrison stated recently that streaming will consume less bandwidth than the figures that many people are speculating about online right now, thanks to the use of compression. He however predicted that bandwidth caps will rise as online services emerge, and also hinted that Google might make deals with Internet service providers, including mobile service providers.