It is a mistake to equate Google's upcoming Stadia service as a Netflix for games. Stadia product director Andrey Doronichev made that crystal clear during a recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit. He also offered up a few more details about Stadia, one of which is that Stadia Pro subscribers can expect "roughly one free game per month."
The AMA session addressed some of the lingering questions surrounding Stadia. As you may already know, Google hopes its cloud gaming service will be a disruptive force, with claims of handling gaming at up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, along with HDR and 5.1 surround sound support. Several questions remain, however, and Andrey answered some of them.
"To be clear, Stadia Pro is not 'Netflix for Games' like some people have mentioned. A closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus. The Pro subscribers get 4K/HDR streaming, 5.1 sound, exclusive discounts and access to some free games. Roughly one free game per month give or take. Starting with Destiny 2," Andrey explained.
A Stadio Pro subscription runs $9.99 per month. Only the Pro tier unlocks 4K resolution gameplay, along with HDR and 5.1 surround sound. Up to this point, Google has also said that "additional free games" will be "released regularly," and now we know it will include about one free game per month.
There is also a Base tier that is free. It limits gameplay to 1080p and stereo sound, and will not include any free games. Regardless of the tier, users by and large still need to purchase games, just as they would with a traditional game console or PC.
One other interesting clarification is that the Stadia Controller will not support Bluetooth audio when it launches.
"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," Andrey added.
In other words, gamers who are using a Chromecast Ultra device will have to use a wired headphone and plug it into the 3.5mm audio jack on the Stadia Controller. To use a Bluetooth headphone, a user would have to play on a Pixel phone (or PC). We suspect this will change in time, however, as Google has been careful with its wording to leave the door open.
The other big takeaway from the AMA session is that Google is "super committed" to Stadia. There is some obvious concern based on Google's track record that it could shut down the service, leaving game purchases lost in the ether.
"We’ve invested a ton in tech, infrastructure, and content. I’m so committed that I’m doing the first AMA in my life… even answering hot dog questions! :)," Andrey added.
In case you are wondering, his reference to hot dogs is in response to a question asking if it's a sandwich. "Definitely not," Andrey says.
Hit the link in the Via field below to read the entire AMA exchange.