One of the leading misconceptions about Stadia is that you need to pay to play multiplayer games online.
That’s according to John Justice, Google VP and Stadia head of product, who told StadiaCast in a video interview that lots of consumers think Stadia multiplayer is locked behind a paywall similar to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.
Speculating as to why the this might be, Justice suggested it’s because to access Stadia this year, consumers need to purchase the $129/£119 Founder’s Edition, which includes a Chromecast Ultra, a limited edition controller and a three-month Stadia Pro subscription.
Pro subscribers will get 4K/HDR streaming with 5.1 surround sound and receive approximately one free game per month, Google has said. The free version of the service, Stadia Base, will offer up to 1080p streaming with stereo sound when it launches in 2020. Neither will charge for online multiplayer gaming.
“Normally I’ve got to go buy a high-end console or I’ve got to go buy a gaming PC, or if I’m playing on more than one screen, I buy more than one,” Justice said. “And that whole layer, the whole hardware there – and for us it’s better hardware than you can buy in a console today, by a lot – we’re giving all that for free. And so that’s a pretty cool disruptive thing.
“And so the Pro subscription, think about it more as an optional thing that adds some extra features, just like PS Plus or Live Gold,” he continued. “Either of those, they add some games, they add some extra features. We do something different here too. Not only do we give you the hardware layer and we don’t make you pay for that, but we also don’t block multiplayer, so we let you do multiplayer on that as well.
“I think a lot of people haven’t quite gotten that before, probably because we’re only doing the Founder’s thing now and [with] Founder’s you kind of have to get everything all at once. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about that.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Justice said letting the general public try the cloud gaming service is a “high priority” and so Google plans to offer free Stadia platform trials “a few months” after launch.
In a Borderlands 3 interview published on VGC on Tuesday, Gearbox creative director Paul Sage called Stadia “probably the most startling thing” he’s seen in the games industry in a decade.