"We always start with nailing the key user-journey and then proceed with releasing extra features. YouTube started with 'watch video.' For Stadia it’s 'Play the Game on your biggest screen.'"
- The Stadia team details how features will hit the platform following its November 19 launch
Google Stadia is due to launch for Founders Edition purchasers next week but, as outlined in a recent Reddit "ask me anything" session with the Stadia Team, the platform won't have its full suite of advertised features at launch.
Day one will allow Founders Edition owners to purchase and play games through supported devices, though, as outlined last month, the included controller won't have wireless compatibility on some platforms at launch.
Starting "as soon as one week after launch," and continuing on a planned weekly cadence, Google plans to start launching new features for Stadia. Some, including Crowd Play and the State Share feature Google VP Phil Harrison called Stadia's most inspiring new offering from a game development point of view are expected to launch alongside compatible titles next year. The first game featuring the Stream Connect feature is expected by the end of 2019.
Many of those were detailed soon after Stadia's initial announcement. State Share allows players to essentially load into the exact moment of a game shared by another player, identical down to the last detail, by clicking a link. Similarly, Crowd Play lets players join games with streamers via a new YouTube feature, while Stream Connect powers couch co-op sessions in Stadia games.
"Our approach to releasing features on Stadia is similar to how we run Google Search, YouTube and other Google services: gradual rollout and continuous improvement, based on your feedback," explains a Google representative in that AMA. "We always start with nailing the key user-journey and then proceed with releasing extra features. YouTube started with 'watch video.' For Stadia it's 'Play the Game on your biggest screen'."
Likewise, Stadia's day one launch will include the Family Link feature for parents looking to manage their children's Stadia accounts, but Family Sharing to allow child and parent accounts to share game purchases isn't expected until next year. Achievement compatibility is a feature mentioned in the thread as another day one offering, but the UI to view those achievements and any associated notifications are expected "shortly after launch."
While the November launch has been billed as Stadia's official debut, that date only opens access to those that pre-ordered the Founders Edition and, after all Founders Edition packs have been shipped, purchasers of the Premier Edition.
However, even then the AMA notes that Stadia early adopters will likely need to use the Chromecast Ultra bundled with the Founders Edition to play on a TV, even if they own an otherwise compatible Chromecast device already. Existing devices won't receive the update to make them Stadia-compatible right away on November 19, though Google notes it plans to "update existing Chromecast Ultras over the air soon after launch."
Outside of Founders and Premier Edition buyers, anyone looking to try Stadia without a pre-order will have to wait until the base version launches sometime in 2020.