At long last, Google Stadia is getting Family Sharing! Coming up on their first birthday on November 19, 2020, Google’s cloud gaming platform has faced many doubters, but they’ve done a lot to keep their promises. They said that they would have 124 games before the end of the year and while they had a slow start, they officially have 100 games as of today! They’ve continually regained user trust by implementing feedback and delivering on features they’ve promised. One such feature that’s been missing, however, is the ability to share your Stadia games library with your family. Now, that finally becomes a reality and it’s a bigger deal than you may realize!
Starting today, all of the games you’ve purchased out of pocket and the games that you’ve received as a part of your Stadia Pro subscription are able to be shared with those in your Google Family Group. Many of us devout Stadians own upward of 70 games now (mostly Pro titles) and it’s exciting to see that those closest to us can start playing them without paying for a second subscription each month. Of course, you don’t have to be a Stadia Pro subscriber to share your games with your family group. Don’t forget that Stadia as a platform is completely free to use, so if you just want to buy one game and share it with your loved ones, you can do that too! As you can see, another account in my family group isn’t even subscribed to Stadia Pro, but all of my games are available there!
This is incredible, but there are a few restrictions that come with all of this. Only one person can be playing a specific title at a time unless more than one person owns a copy of it on their individual accounts. A bit of a bummer, but it makes sense that Google set it up this way as they want to make sure only one ‘license’ for a title is being used. If one person tries to start a game that’s already being played by another family member, they will see a greyed out family sharing icon instead of a play button.
Also, if the family manager stops paying for Stadia Pro, everyone in the family group will lose access to all of the shared Pro games, but they will retain their ability to play all non-Pro games that were paid for out of pocket by any member of the family group. Add-ons in the form of expansions can also be shared, but in-game currency can not. Lastly, the family manager will need to approve any purchases made by supervised family members.
I should quickly mention that you shouldn’t just share your stadia games with anyone, because those who you add to your family group should be, well, family – or at least the people you trust most in life as they will have access to your family payment method on file and can buy any content from Stadia or the Google Play Store. You should review you Play store settings from time to time as well.
Okay, now that all of the fine print is out of the way, here’s how you can get started! Just visit Stadia and click your profile image on the top right. Click on ‘Stadia settings’, and then ‘Family’, and lastly ‘Get started’. If you haven’t already set up a family payment method, you’ll need to do so before you can continue.
Upon setting everything up, you will be asked if you want to automatically share all of your games or if you want to manually add them to your shared library when you’re ready. If you choose the latter, you can do so from their individual store listings. Please don’t forget that Stadia also has parental controls, so you are able to restrict which titles your children can play by following Google’s setup guide – this way, they can play Cake Bash, but not Cyberpunk 2077 when it finally comes out.
Now, more than ever, I’m convinced that cloud gaming is the future. The Playstation 5, while I’ll be getting one and it’s super-fast, has a severely limited storage capacity for a next-gen console and that’s a bit depressing. With Stadia, I don’t have to worry about that anymore and neither does my family. All that’s left on my wishlist now is the ability to play on my new Chromecast with Google TV, but this update is right around the corner. Thank you, Stadia and happy early birthday!