Google has finally offered more details on the Stadia game streaming service it announced earlier this year, shedding light on pricing details and the platform’s game offerings in a pre-E3 stream today.
Notably, Stadia isn't adopting the pay-for-access Netflix-of-games model. While Google does offer a Stadia Pro subscription for $9.99 a month, that fee isn’t a barrier to play games with the service.
Instead, Stadia users purchase games for full price on the cloud-based service, the same as they would for a console or any other platform.
That Pro membership does offer access to "regular content added to your library" (starting with only Destiny 2 and its expansions at launch), but players still have access to a free Base version that allows them to purchase and play games through Stadia (though at a max 1080p rather than Pro's 4K offering).
Thirty-one games have been announced for Stadia so far, including Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Borderlands 3, and freshly-announced titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Destiny 2 and all its expansions are also being offered for free to Stadia Pro subscribers as one of the services first free offerings, along with the ability to transfer a safe from another platform to the Stadia version of Destiny 2 instead.
The selling point for Stadia has always been the ability to play games on nearly any device and, thanks to the platform’s datacenter-driven nature, with no downloads or updates required. Google offered more details on platform support during today’s stream, though not all platforms are supported from the get-go.
At its full launch next year, Stadia offers support for TV (via Chromecast), computers and tablets (via Chrome), and the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a smartphones, though Google says Stadia will eventually come to more mobile devices down the line.
Stadia itself isn’t due to launch to the general public until a yet undisclosed point in 2020. However, it is selling a $130 Founder's Edition that, along with a Chromecast Ultra, Stadia controller, and a 3 month Pro membership, offers access to Stadia as early as this November. That November launch only includes support for the Stadia controller and TV-based play, though Support for other controllers and platforms like computers, tablets, and phones is set to arrive in 2020.