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Google's $10 Stadia Pro plan includes one free game per month

Google also revealed that Bluetooth Audio won't be available at launch.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
July 19, 2019
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During a Reddit "Ask me Anything" session, Director of Product Andrey Doronichev dished some more details about Google's Stadia online gaming service coming in November. Questions covered number of subjects, from social features to technical details to Google's commitment to the platform. Perhaps the most pertinent thing that Google revealed, however, is how the Stadia Pro subscription will work and what you'll get.

Doronichev emphasized that the Pro service won't be "all you can eat," but that for $10 a month, subscribers will get some serious benefits. "To be clear, Stadia Pro is not 'Netflix for Games' like some people have mentioned," he said. "A closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus. The Pro subscribers get 4K/HDR streaming, 5.1 sound, exclusive discounts and access to some free games. Roughly one free game per month give or take. Starting with Destiny 2."

Users of the base plan won't get the discounts or games, as expected. "But hey, Stadia Base gives you free access to the state-of-the-art gaming hardware in our datacenter," said Doronichev. "You spend your money to buy games you want."

To be clear, Stadia Pro is not 'Netflix for Games' like some people have mentioned. A closer comparison would be like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus. The Pro subscribers get 4K/HDR streaming, 5.1 sound, exclusive discounts and access to some free games. Roughly one free game per month give or take. Starting with Destiny 2.

Another key takeaway is that Stadia's controller won't support Bluetooth Audio when the service launches in November. To start with, you'll be forced to use wired headphones via a 3.5mm audio jack on the controller if you're streaming on a Chromecast Ultra. If you're playing on a Pixel Phone or PC, however, you'll get wireless Bluetooth audio via those devices, bypassing the controller. On the Stadia controller product page, Google notes that while Bluetooth support will be switched off at launch, it may be enabled down the road.

Google re-emphasized that you'll be able to use any games you purchase, even if Stadia is discontinued down the road. At the same time, Doronichev said Google is "super committed" to the platform. "We have hundreds of passionate people who have spent years building it. We've invested a ton in tech, infrastructure and content."

As for the social aspect, Google is going all-in there, as well. At launch you'll be able to manage your friends list, create parties and use platform-level voice chat," he said. "And that's just the beginning. We also have a healthy pipeline of social features going forward." It will also include achievements similar to what's available on other platforms. Stadia will eventually support Family Sharing early next year as well.

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