Google Stadia’s Director of Product, Andrey Doronichev, took to Reddit to answer a few questions in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) last night, trying to clear up some of the potential points of confusion surrounding their upcoming game streaming service. Some of that revealed certain features that won’t be available at launch in November, such as achievements and Bluetooth audio, but another question was about Stadia Pro’s game library.
While being able to play Stadia games on pretty much any screen you have access to could be wonderfully liberating, there’s questions about how you actually get to access the games. In the long run you’ll be able to buy games and play them whenever you want, but at the service’s launch you’ll have to subscribe to Stadia Pro for $9.99 USD / $11.99 CAD / £8.99 GBP a month. This gets you Stadia’s premium 4K streaming with the bonus of access to a growing library of free games, starting with Destiny 2.
Of course, when streaming services are mentioned, people equate that to all you can eat buffets of content like Netflix and Spotify, and in the games industry, PlayStation Now. That’s not what Stadia Pro is, however.
Doronichev explained, “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 (yay!).”
Further clarification was provided by StadiaOfficial when asked what happened if you stopped subscribing and restarted at a later date: “You will regain access to those Pro games you claimed in the past while you were a subscriber. But not the ones that were offered to Pro subscribers while you were unsubscribed.”
With people weighing up whether or not it’s worth subscribing to Stadia Pro versus just waiting for Stadia Basic and buying games outright, it’s not a hugely appealing proposition for the two year old Destiny 2 to be its first headliner – even if it will have the Shadowkeep expansion – and with Google saying it will be getting “older” games. It’s also worth remembering that games on Stadia will cost as much as they do on other platforms, even if Google promise that you’ll always have access to them.
Honestly, while there’s some appeal to simply buying games and streaming them wherever, Stadia Pro sounds like a bit of a bum deal, especially when weighed up against the cost of a new console across the length of a console generation.