Andrey Doronichev, the director of product for Google Stadia, recently did a Reddit ‘Ask me Anything’ (AmA), revealing further details about Google’s upcoming streaming video game service.
While we learned more about Google’s commitment to the platform, as well as further technical details surrounding Stadia, the more interesting new information relates to how Stadia’s $11 per month ‘Pro’ subscription tier will work.
Doronichev explained that Stadia Pro’s “all you can eat” subscription model includes a few additional benefits. He said that Pro subscribers get access to 4K/HDR streaming, 5.1 surround sound, exclusive discounts and roughly one free game per month starting with Destiny 2. He also went on to add that Stadia Pro isn’t “Netflix for games” like some have assumed.
It also looks like base plan subscribers won’t get free games or discounted offers. The other interesting information to come out of the AmA included the fact that Stadia’s controller won’t support Bluetooth audio at launch.
The only option for using headphones with Stadia will be a traditional 3.5mm headphone connection, at least initially. That said, if you’re playing on PC or using a Pixel smartphone, you’ll be able to use Bluetooth audio, said Doronichev. Google says that Bluetooth support could come in the future.
Doronichev also emphasized that Google is “super committed to the platform,” explaining that the tech giant has “hundreds of passionate people who have spent years building it. We’ve invested a ton in tech, infrastructure and content.”
It also looks like Stadia will eventually feature friends lists, the ability to create parties and voice chat. The platform is set to get more expansive social features in the future, as well as family sharing, said Doronichev.
Stadia Base, the lowest tier of Google’s streaming service, will launch in 2020 and offer game streaming of up to 1080p/60fps with stereo sound. A minimum 10Mbps connection is required for 1080p streaming. Titles will be available for purchase on an individual basis from Google’s store. Stadia’s gamepad will be offered for $89.99 CAD exclusively in the Google Store in ‘Black,’ ‘Clearly White’ and ‘Wasabi’ colours.
Third-party controllers without Stadia-specific features can also be used with the platform. The Chromecast Ultra will allow for Stadia streaming on TVs in up to 4K resolution, although other Chromecast models can be used for 1080p streaming.