Stadia has yet to implement the long desired Family Sharing feature which would allow you to share your games with those in your Google Family Group, but now we get word that they’re getting ready to implement a whole slew of new features. First reported by 9to5 Google’s Stadia APK teardown, it’s always possible that some or all of these features do not come to market, but the probability is high. Let’s take a look at what was found and we’ll give you our thoughts on each as well.
Stadia for the web already has the ability to use touch controls via a Chrome extension called Touchstadia, but Google’s version looks like it will be more well thought out. For example, the trigger buttons will have more accurate functionality and we can see the controls being set up specific to the game you’re playing instead of just generically. Also, Touchstadia can only be turned off if you disable the Chrome extension. It has no way of detecting a controller and hiding the controls, which we found to be highly annoying. Stadia’s implementation will allow you to toggle the touch controls on or off right through the interface.
Unlike Nintendo who still requires you to use a separate app to voice chat with your friends while playing on your Switch, Stadia will allow you to strike up a conversation right inside of the menu that you open using the button on your controller. We think this will be a much needed feature. It looks like there will be a limit to the amount of players who can join a chat as well. While individual voice chat exists as an in-built platform feature, it will be good to have the ability to host or join a party chat instead of the functionality being provided on a per-game basis. We’ve also been dying for a text chat system for quick messages like “Anyone want to play a quick round of PUBG?”, but it looks like Google has already thought of that.
Game Demos, Trials and Free Weekends
Publishers will soon have the ability to provide free demos, timed trials and free weekends to players to entice them to give them a taste of thier games before they buy them. Some demos will also be exclusive to Stadia Pro subscribers as a way to encourage people to sign up for the service. This is bound to make some people angry, but we think it can have its benefits. For example many people may not try Stadia until they’re drawn in by a trial of a game that appeals to them and in doing so, miss out on many free games that they would enjoy. Free weekends are when a publisher makes a game entirely free to play for everyone at once for a weekend.
Something to look forward to is the promise of great Stadia deals. With the APK teardown, several lines of code were found that show upcoming sale milestones. It lists the following:
The Summer of Games sale
Back to School sale
Black Friday deals
End of the Year deals
With 120 games slated to release on Stadia before the year’s end, even though they look to be falling severely short of that goal, there will be plenty of amazing games to pick up on discount for the next six months if all of these sales roll out. We’d be particularly interested to see the end of the year sales as Google still has time to blow us out of the water by releasing a massive slate of games. Several developers on twitter have been teasing that they’re ready to share more about their games soon as well, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Pixel phones as well as a handful of others can play Stadia with no problems, and the OnePlus 8 also received support last month, but these are all labeled as ‘certified phones’. Going forward, Google will allow many other phones to boot up Stadia via an ‘experiments’ page in the app. ‘Experiments’ allow you to try new Stadia features out before they’re released. These features will still be in development for some time and may not even see the light of day. Our only concern is that with a whole host of new phones launching Stadia in an experimental phase, they’re bound to experience issues. Luckily, the individuals who do so will more than likely be techies and those on the ‘bleeding edge’, so hopefully they’ll know that if they do experience any weird bugs, it’s not a good representation of Stadia itself.
Android TV Support
With Android TV rumored to be rebranded as Google TV, it’s said to feature the introduction of Stadia to the platform as a standalone app outside of the Google Cast functionality as well. We want to see Stadia’s numbers go up, so this may be a good way to encourage that. There’s something about having an interface on your big screen tv instead of casting from your phone that encourages you to interact with things more. Luckily, Google’s new Chromecast may have its own UI and a controller! Bye bye, Roku TV!
While we’re super interested to see these features become available, we would also like for Google to deliver on their promise of Family Sharing and for developers to get their games on the platform sooner rather than later. Touch controls will be a welcome addition as we will play more often on the go if we’re not required to carry around a controller and the Stadia claw. I can personally think of a few games that I would like try demos for and I can’t wait to see what games are on sale throughout the rest of 2020.
What do you think of the Stadia app updates to come? Please let us know in the comments section below. Remember, we will examine Stadia app updates when they feature significant changes that get us excited, so stay tuned here on Gaming Unboxed!