Google Stadia will launch in November, giving users access to games via the cloud. Players won’t need any hardware except for controllers to play the games. It is a new type of service, so naturally, there are many questions surrounding it. Although Google has tried to answer as many questions as possible in the Q&A about it, some questions remain unanswered. One such question is this: what if Google Stadia shuts down?
It is a valid question, considering the number of other Google services that have shut down in the past. However, Google finally answered this question in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). In response to the the question, “What if Google Stadia shuts down?” Stadia’s director of product, Andrey Doronichev, said they get this a question a lot and that they understand the fear.
“I hear you. Moving to the cloud is scary,” he said. “I felt the same way when music was transitioning from files to streaming. I still have all my old CDs in the garage… although it’s hard to find a CD player these days :)”
He pointed out that movies, photos and documents have moved to the cloud and that the transition has been smooth. Similarly, he expects the transition will be smooth for games as well.
“Eventually all of our games will be safely in the cloud too and we’ll feel great about it,” he said, adding that the company has been investing massively in “tech, infrastructure and partnerships” over the years.
Commenting further on the question, “What if Google Stadia shuts down?” the executive said, “Nothing in life is certain, but we’re committed to making Stadia a success.”
To ensure players don’t lose any progress, Google’s game streaming service will support a “Takeout” feature from day one. This feature will allow players to download the metadata of their games, including game saves. However, the executive admitted that games can’t be downloaded. This means that if Stadia shuts down, players won’t be able to access the games.
Assuring potential users that nothing of this sort will happen, Doronichev said, “There’s nothing I can say now to make you believe if you don’t. But what we can do is to launch the service and continue investing in it for years to come.”
The company has been doing the same for Gmail, Music, Docs, Photos and more, he added.
On the other hand, there are a number of Google services that have shut down, such as Chromecast Audio, YouTube annotations, Google Fiber, Google Allo, Google+ (for consumers) Google Inbox and many more.
Thus, there may be doubt in users’ minds until Google’s gaming service is up and running. One thing that’s in favor of Google Stadia is that the gaming industry is moving toward digitization from physical media. Many other big names are releasing services similar to Google’s Stadia. For instance, xCloud (Microsoft’s game-streaming service) is scheduled to start public trials in October.
Also during the AMA, the executive cleared up one major misconception people have about Stadia, which is that it will be the “Netflix of games.” Many believe since Stadia is a streaming service, it will offer a rotating library of games.
“Stadia Pro is not Netflix for Games like some people have mentioned,” Doronichev clarified. “A closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus.”
Further, he said Pro subscribers will receive other benefits such as 5.1 sound, 4K/HDR streaming, exclusive discounts and access to free games (roughly one game a month).
The free game will remain in the subscriber’s library as long as they are a Stadia Pro subscriber. When asked what happens to the game when the subscription lapses and is later reactivated, the executive said the free games will return to the library. The games that were offered during the period when the subscription was not active won’t be available.
Doronichev reiterated that Stadia Base players won’t receive free games like Stadia Pro members. However, they will have access to the “state-of-the-art gaming hardware in our datacenter” and will only have to spend money on games they want.
Another concern he addressed is data usage by Google Stadia. Many have expressed concerns that internet service providers with data caps won’t allow them to enjoy the service to the fullest. In response to this concern, the executive said that over time, ISPs will adapt to the needs and desires of customers. Until that happens, he said users will have the option to manually set data usage settings within the Stadia app.
Google’s Stadia will launch in November in many counties, including the U.S. The service will cost $10 per month. Users can also opt for the $130 Stadia Founder’s Edition, which comes with a Google controller, three months of Stadia Pro, a copy of Destiny 2, a Chromecast Ultra and more.