There are a lot of unanswered questions about Google’s Stadia streaming game service, foremost among them the very obvious, “How will it run on my less-than-perfect internet connection?” Our own experience with it earlier this year was a little iffy, after all. For the benefit of those curious but concerned, or just unconvinced, Stadia head of product John Justice said in an interview on StadiaCast that trials of both the service and the individual games it offers are on the way,
“We will have trials. We’re not gonna have trials for—it’ll be a few months until they actually go out,” he said. “We will be adding trials, we’re just working through what’s the right ‘when’ and how exactly to set it up, and you can imagine how busy things are now just getting ready for launch. So there’s the launch stuff and then there’s, okay, what do we want to do next, next, next, after, and so trials is something that’s high up on the list.”
He clarified that trials will be offered for both the Stadia service itself and, for Pro subscribers, the specific games it offers. “If you look at our plan to make as many people be able to try this as possible, you want people, whether they’re already on Stadia, to let them go discover new games, new things, the stuff you haven’t tried. And then also people who, if you haven’t given it a try, we want to let you just jump in as easily as you can,” he said. “So I think both of those things, both those are trials that we want to support.”
Despite Stadia’s debut only being a couple of months away, it seems like there’s quite a lot about the service that still needs to be nailed down. When asked whether free-to-play games like Fortnite or Apex Legends will require the subscription-based Stadia Pro, for instance, Justice said that “we haven’t launched any of those games yet, and so when we launch them, you’ll be the first to know.” Details on family sharing and interaction with other online services such as Uplay Plus are also still being worked out, and mod support is “on the list” but specifics will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The $10-per-month Stadia Pro, which promises up to 4K resolutions at 60 fps, 5.1 audio, and a selection of free games, is currently slated to go live sometime in November. (Gamers with data caps might want to be careful with that.) The free Stadia Base, which is limited to 1080p and stereo sound, and includes no free games (unless Google decides to make free-to-play games accessible at that tier) is expected to follow in early 2020.