THE STAGE IS SET for Google's Stadia game streaming service to launch on 19 November, but it looks set to debut without a lot of its touted features.
As we're inexorably being sucked into the Christmas season, let's inject some festive tomfoolery to lessen the smack around the chops this news might be if you've been getting excited for Stadia.
'On the first day of launch Google's Stadia gave to me:
12 lacklustre games, no achievement system, no Buddy Pass service sharing feature, no Family Sharing, no Stream Connect multiplayer support, no universal 4K streaming, no 5.1 surround sound, and noooo HDRrrrrrrrrr.'
Yep, during a Reddit AMA, Stadia director of product Andrey Doronichev confirmed that the game streaming service is going to launch without a lot of key features.
There's also some frankly weird stuff that's set to happen at Stadia's launch as well. Chromecast Ultra devices not purchased as part of the Stadia Founder's Edition won't have Stadia 4K support, while those that did come in the Stadia bundle will.
Apparently, that's down to the firmware the Chromcast Ultras come sporting in the Stadia bundle
"On Day 1 you should use the Chromecast Ultra that came in your bundle. It has the latest firmware," said Doronichev. "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."
A lot of the features it promised are likely to be added pretty swiftly after it launches, and we'd expect to see the meagre game library get boosted as well. But the upcoming launch of the game streaming service looks set to be more than a little rushed.
That would be down to Google wanting to steal a march on Microsoft's Project xCloud game streaming service, which is currently in public beta but has yet to have firmed up a launch date; we suspect it'll pop up before the end of the year.
But launching a game streaming service seemingly trim on features seems like a risky move for Google, as such services in the past, notably OnLive, had rough launches which effectively crippled them for any future success. Then again, Google ain't short of money so it can probably weather a slightly hurried launch and then throw some more dosh at Stadia to ensure it's up and running the way it was marketed as we move into 2020.
In a slight flip from negativity, the Stadia team also revealed the Claw, which is basically an accessory designed to mount Pixel phones to the stadia controller to turn them into a form of handheld games console. Hardly awe-inspiring, but it's something.
We'll have to wait until next week to see if the Stadia launch is a damp squib or a surprising success; as it stands we're placing no bets either way. µ
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