Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Google continues to reveal new details about its cloud gaming platform Stadia, and the company announced in a tweet that it will be doing so again at an upcoming Stadia Connect at Gamescom on August 19 at 1 p.m. ET. Just a few months shy of its official launch, the company will be using this Connect to talk “all about the games,” and will be taking viewers “behind-the-scenes” with its partners to check out some brand-new titles.
Games are a big selling point, but so are the features that support them, and there are some lingering questions that Google needs to answer before players decide if the upcoming streaming service is for them.
1) Will cross-play be supported?
Cross-platform play, the ability to play a game with friends on different systems, is becoming increasingly popular, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare even supporting the feature when it launches later this year. Stadia doesn’t currently offer this feature the same way other platforms do. For example, Destiny 2 on Stadia won’t support cross-play with players on the standard PC version of the game. Some clarification is necessary on whether cross-play will be supported on a service that claims it is the most accessible.
2) When will other phones work with Stadia?
A lingering question we wanted answered during the Reddit AMA is when other Android or iOS devices will be compatible with Stadia. Only a select few Google Pixel phones are going to be supported at launch, and a lot of people don’t have those phones. Google is clearly aiming to change that by limiting mobile access to its own phones, but we still want to know when this will change.
3) What social features will it have?
We already know Google Stadia will feature deep integration with YouTube, both to buy games and to play them with content creators. What is less clear, however, is the kind of social features Stadia will offer for interacting with your friends. Being always-online makes this a necessity, and we’d like to learn about the chat system beyond the surface-level detail provided in the AMA.
4) How will Google handle players with data caps?
One of the tougher questions Google needs to address is how it plans to handle users who have data caps. Given that streaming uses up a large amount of data and some American players will be limited to as little as 1TB per month, this could leave some potential players without a way to use Stadia. Clarification on data usage or exemptions would go a long way in the Stadia Connect.
5) How do fighting games perform on Google Stadia?
We know Google Stadia will support fighting games, including Mortal Kombat 11. It’s a genre that requires high framerates and little to no latency in order to be played properly. Google claims Stadia is capable of delivering on this, but this is a claim they need to back up by showing it in action.