Not really a surprise.
With less than a week from launch day, it’s quite obvious that not many people are excited about the Google Stadia. It will be launching with only 12 games and the base free subscription plan won’t be available until next year. More news have surfaced and unfortunately, the launch just keeps sounding worse.
In a recent Reddit AMA with Stadia director of product Andrey Doronichev and product manager Beri Lee, participants asked them a lot of questions regarding the launch. In a way, that’s something to be happy about because it shows that people are still somewhat excited for Stadia. However, the answers to some of those questions might have killed the excitement.
One of the biggest promises that Google made was that the Stadia would be able to stream 4K gameplay on any device as long as you have the required internet speed and stability. Looks like that won’t be the case at launch. 4K, HDR, and 5.1 Surround Sound won’t be available for PC Chrome gameplay on day one. In fact, it’s only expected to arrive sometime in 2020.
On day one, 4K, HDR, and 5.1 Surround Sound will only available if you’re streaming through Chromecast Ultra. According to the Google employees, feedback from Founders (those who were earliest to sign up for Stadia) told them that 4K TV was their top priority for launch.
Family Sharing, the function that would allow you to share games with family members using different devices on the same subscription plan, will also not be available at launch. So if you’re planning to play multiplayer with your children or spouse, tough luck. You will have to purchase the game again for the other person’s account. The feature is planned to be launched in early 2020.
My favourite part of the AMA is how they try to cushion the fact that even Achievements won’t really be ready on the first day. The employees said that the “games will be recording your achievements on Stadia on day one” but the platform UI for viewing your achievements and getting notifications for when you get an achievement will only come “shortly” after launch”.
The way they end the answer is embarrassingly sad despite the cheerful tone:
“I know, it’s something you want. Just imagine the day the UI launches: you’ll get a bunch of achievements all at once! MEGA OVER ACHIEVEMENT! :)”
In the end, everyone can see that the Google Stadia just isn’t ready for launch. There’s no doubt that it will be probably be functional and the 12 launch games will be playable but if it’s missing key features like letting you share games with your kids and playing in 4K on your own computer, then it’s safe to assume that it was never planned to be launched this early.
Thanks for the heads up, PC Gamer.