Google Clarifies Stadia Game Ownership, Supported Devices

Photo Source: GooglePhoto Source: Google
Google made some changes to its FAQ and they cover everything from the Stadia Controller to the way Google plans to handle games people buy, as well as what devices the game streaming platform will support after its launch. 9to5Google spotted the changes.

Google announced Stadia on June 6. The pitch was simple: it wants to let people stream games to their television sets, PCs, tablets, and smartphones just like they do other forms of entertainment. Stadia would also follow Apple in having a subscription offering (Stadia Pro and Apple Music) as well as a storefront (purchases and iTunes) to give people more options for this new approach to game distribution.

Digital distribution can be tricky, though, especially when it comes to entertainment. Microsoft offered a prime example in June when it removed ebooks purchased via the Microsoft Store's failed Books section from users' devices. Could that happen with Stadia? Purchases via the platform seem even more ephemeral because they're streamed on-demand rather than downloaded to a device's storage.

Google tried to ease those fears in the new FAQ:

"What happens to a game I bought if the publisher stops supporting Stadia in the future? Can I still play the game? Yes. Once you purchase the game, you own the right to play it. In the future, it is possible that some games may no longer be available for new purchases, but existing players will still be able to play the game. Outside of unforeseen circumstances, Stadia will aim to keep any previously purchased title available for gameplay."

The company originally said that Stadia would require a Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle and dedicated Stadia Controller at launch, but in the updated FAQ, it said mobile gameplay will be available via Pixel 3 and 3a smartphones as well as tablets running Chrome OS. People can also manage their accounts and make purchases via devices running Android M, iOS 11 or newer versions of those platforms.

The new FAQ said that playing Stadia games via USB won't require the dedicated controller; any USB HID controller should work. (Playing wirelessly on a TV will still require the Stadia Controller.) Google also said "more devices will be made available in the future,"  though it's not clear if that part of the FAQ is referring specifically to phones and tablets, since Stadia is accessible via Chrome on PC.

There is one category of device Google's not interested in supporting with Stadia: VR. At least not in the short term. "At this time, we have no news to share regarding VR support on Stadia," Google said in the updated FAQ. That doesn't mean the company will never expand its game streaming platform to VR, but it does mean that it's unlikely to happen any time soon, given the platform's novelty.