In brief: Google Stadia arrives next Tuesday (November 19), but those expecting it to launch with a full suite of features are set to be disappointed.
In a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Stadia director of product Andrey Doronichev and product manager Beri Lee revealed that several features of the game streaming service wouldn’t be available on launch day, with many of them rolling out over the coming weeks and months instead.
One thing missing is Stream Connect, which is the service’s version of local co-op, though that will arrive by the end of the year. And Family Sharing, which Doronichev called a "high priority feature," won’t arrive until early next year, meaning those who want to play a game with their partner or child will have to buy a second copy.
The Buddy Pass, a perk for Founders Editions of Stadia that lets people gift a three-month Stadia subscription to a friend, will ship two weeks after buyers receive their bundles.
Other features that users will have to wait for include the ability for streamers to play Stadia games with viewers (Crowd Play), achievements, sharing saved data between accounts, and support for Chromecast Ultras.
"On Day 1 you should use the Chromecast Ultra that came in your bundle. It has the latest firmware," Doronichev said. "We will be updating the existing CC Ultra’s over the air soon after launch. So you’ll be able to use your Stadia Controller to play on many TVs in your home."
For those intending on streaming Stadia to their PCs, don’t expect 4K, HDR or 5.1 Surround Sound until next year. "On 11/19 we’ll be only streaming 4K / HDR / 5.1 to Chromecast Ultra. We know from the feedback the Founders gave us that the 4K TV must be our top priority for launch. On day 1, PC Chrome gameplay won't support 4K, HDR, or 5.1 Surround Sound," Doronichev added. "But in the spirit of gradual rollout, we’ll be adding support for 4K/HDR/5.1 on PCs in 2020."
While Google never promised all of Stadia’s features would be present on day one, the news will likely disappoint plenty of people. It comes after the company revealed the mere 12 launch-day games, which will expand to 14 before the end of the year.