Google’s Director of Product Management Andrey Doronichev hosted a Reddit AMA today that was aimed at answering more specific questions by potential users for the upcoming Google Stadia. We’ve picked up some of the most important questions, along with Doronichev’s responses to them.
1. When you say 1 [game] per month are you talking about a growing pool with 1 added each month? Or are you talking about a single rotating free to play game per month?
“Growing pool as long as you’re a Stadia subscriber!”
To compare, a Playstation Plus subscription and the current Xbox Live Gold subscription model is about the same, only the game library size depends on what is available on that month.
2. Does the controller support Bluetooth audio? Can I use Bluetooth headphones on Stadia?
“The Stadia Controller comes with a headphone jack for wired audio, but won’t support Bluetooth audio at launch in November. If you’re playing on the computer or a Pixel phone you can connect the BT headset to it directly and use it in Stadia.”
Take note that this is about pairing the headset directly to the controller. In most cases, you can still pair it with the phone or unit (PC, Chromecast, etc.) that you intend to play Stadia on. Plus, his “won’t support at launch” statement basically hints at future updates for this specific issue.
3. Is there anything being done to combat Data caps? Or is that purely on us to converse with our ISPs? 50 dollars extra a month for me to just NOT have a data cap.
” I can’t predict the future, but I’ve seen that ISPs adapted in the past – I saw it when I was at YouTube – and we’d expect that to continue. For players concerned about data usage we’ll definitely have some tools in the Stadia app to manage your data usage to adapt to your unique data situation, but I’m not sure if that will be on day one or a bit later. “
Which means we’re on our own for now when it comes to data caps. His point about YouTube eventually getting ISPs to update was kind of notable though, but it is still not certain whether the same trend will happen to Stadia.
4. What Stadia feature are you most proud of that hasn’t been talked about or you don’t think is getting much coverage?
“Me playing Assassin’s Creed on my son’s dirt-cheap Chromebook. It almost feels like a glitch in the Matrix…. It can’t be happening… but wait… it works! “
Seamless access plus device usability has indeed been one of the primary selling points of Stadia’s demo and introduction.
5. Will Stadia have its own Global Chat and Friends System, or will it depend on the game developer to implement this features?
“First and foremost, I personally think of Games as the main social platform of the future. So we’re investing a lot in Social, Communications and Safety on Stadia. At launch you’ll be able to manage your friends list, create parties and use platform-level voice chat. And that’s just the beginning. We also have a healthy pipeline of social features going forward.”
A basic required feature if we are to assess. Doronichev even reiterated the point on several questions that had the same general query.
6. Are there going to be Free-To-Play Games on Stadia?
“We are proud of Stadia’s launch portfolio and it’s just the beginning! I certainly hope to have a few free to play games to announce in the next few months. Not ready to share any now, though. We are constantly announcing new games, so any answer I can give you now will be out of date quickly. Stay tuned!”
Destiny 2 counts as the very game this user asked, technically. Like, the first game that Google Stadia will feature at launch.
7. Will there be Mod Support for Stadia?
“In November, no. We’d like to in the future. We’re working with developers now to find the best way to do this.”
More hints. More hints!
8. Is there a general time frame on when we can stream to devices other than the Pixel 3 that you could give us?
“We’re aiming to get more devices supported next year. I really want to have Stadia gameplay on every mobile device, across Android and iOS at some point. But it’s a hard technical challenge and will take us time. Just need to start somewhere. So we’re starting with the device we know the best and can provide an optimal experience – our latest Pixel phones.”
We guess that would be a given to promote the service on Google’s latest mobile hardware. But good to know that they acknowledged the need to make it available to more devices at least.
As with every Reddit AMA, not all questions are going to be answered. However, there was a peculiar pattern to the questions that never had any response from Doronichev.
Basically, all questions related to latency and the actual specifics of data usage were usually not given answers. Which was kind of dubious, as latency and data usage was two of the core issues that many gamers have wanted to know ever since Stadia was announced.
This is because naturally, latencies still occur due to the limitations of electromagnetic waves and electric currents. Yes, that includes the best of internet speeds or network setups. Many skeptics argue that Google’s claims about Stadia being faster than your response time to visual stimuli are unachievable, farfetched even.
On the bright side, the AMA did at least get one question about data caps through (no.3), though it was never really addressed directly either.
As for the rest of the answered questions, they were mostly simple clarifications to the announcements and bits of information that was already previously announced.
Should we all just settle with it and find out at launch? Here’s to hoping that our
sacrificial test subjects early adopters would never have to raise such concern.