Google delays a number of Stadia’s key features, including family sharing and buddy pass

Just days before its launch, Google has confirmed a number of key features originally detailed to early adopters of Google’s streaming subscription service will now be delayed.

Further to a Reddit AMA with Google’s Andrey Doronichev and Beri Lee, it appears Stadia’s Founder’s Edition will now launch without achievement notifications, family share, or 4K streaming for PC. It’s also been confirmed that the much-publicised Buddy Pass – which enables players to gift access to a friend – will be delayed for approximately three months. 

As detailed by Android Authority, early adopters will not be able to use their official Stadia controller on their PC or phone wirelessly, nor use their official Stadia controller with any currently owned Google Chromecast Ultra. They will also be unable to play games in 4K/HDR/5.1 “on any device other than your TV with the Founder’s Edition Chromecast connected”. Support for 4K streaming on PC is expected to follow in 2020.

Though available, you won’t see achievement pop as they’re unlocked as the UI that displays achievement notifications won’t be available until “shortly after launch.”

While Family Sharing is considered a “high priority” for players, right now there’s no way to enable parents to share games with an associated child’s account – which means families hoping to play together over the holidays will have no choice but to buy additional copies of games to play (or buy them on a different platform entirely, of course). 

At the moment, there are 12 games lined up to release on launch day with just one of them, Gylt, a Stadia exclusive. 14 more are anticipated to release by the end of the year. Despite its comparison to a “Netflix for gamers” service, all games must be bought separately.

Google revealed details about Stadia’s launch at E3 2019. Launching in 14 countries in November 2019, initially, it will only be available as a £9/$10/€10 per month subscription called Stadia Pro, which will provide 4K/60fps streaming, along with a catalogue of existing titles – much like Xbox Game Pass. Subscribing will also give full access to Destiny 2 and all its content, though that’s a limited time offer.

A service with no monthly fee, called Stadia Base, will launch sometime in 2020, without any library of content. This service will be limited to 1080p streaming. Bandwidth requirements start at just 10mbit/s download and go up to 35mbit/s for the full experience. Both services will require consumers to outright purchase new releases in order to play them, presumably at typical retail prices through a Stadia store (though as yet this hasn’t been detailed).

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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