Google Stadia, the cloud gaming service that will allow players to access their games seamless between all of their devices, is launching on Nov. 19, but not with the full suite of features it advertised at GDC and E3 2019. During an AMA on Reddit, the Stadia team revealed what features players won’t be able to access at launch. Those features include Stadia’s achievement system, several multiplayer connectivity options such as Crowd Play, and even Day 1 access to the controller in some cases.
Per the latter, customers who pre-ordered the Stadia Founder’s Edition will get their codes to access the service on their phones and Chrome browsers at launch, but the physical kit containing the controller and the Chromecast Ultra you need to play on your TV will arrive based on when you pre-ordered it. Players that pre-ordered the Founder’s Edition later will likely receive the controller and Chromecast Ultra after launch. Fortunately, you can use other compatible controllers, such as the Xbox One gamepad, on your desktop and laptop until then. Or just use the keyboard and mouse.
Another feature that will be missing at launch is the ability to use Stadia on existing Chromecast Ultras, as Google won’t roll out the firmware update that allows the service to work on Chromecast until after launch. For now, only the Chromecast Ultras that come with controllers will be compatible with Stadia.
One of the big draws of the Founder’s Edition was the option to gift a three-month subscription to a friend through a Buddy Pass. You won’t actually get your Buddy Pass to use until “weeks after you receive your bundle, barring some unknown unknowns popping up,” according to the Stadia team. Your anxious friend will just have to wait a bit longer.
Speaking of sharing, the Family Sharing feature that allows multiple users to share games between each other won’t be available at launch either but “it’s a high priority feature, we’re planning to launch early next year.” Additionally, if you’re hoping to show off achievements on Stadia, the service will keep track of these but you won’t be able to see them until “shortly after launch.”
Highly touted multiplayer features such as Crowd Play, Stream Connect, and State Share — which allow players to do things like seamlessly jump into each other’s games and join their favorite streamers in a play session — “will be released next year.”