Stadia will have free online multiplayer, publisher subscriptions, and won't work on Android TVs

Google Stadia
Google Stadia (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Stadia Base will support online multiplayer games for free.
  • Publishers will have the option to create subscription-based plans to access a library of its games.
  • At launch, Stadia will not support Android TVs.

Google Stadia has been causing a lot of excitement at E3 about the future of gaming. Recently, Stadia head Phil Harrison sat down for an interview and revealed some more details.

First thing's first, Stadia Base will include online multiplayer for free as long as the publisher doesn't require a subscription. In contrast, you would have to pay up to $9.99 per month for Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus in order to enjoy most multiplayer online games.

Next, we found out a little more about the future of buying games through the service. When Stadia was first announced, we learned that you'd be able to purchase games or play some select free games with your Stadia Pro subscription. Now, we're learning that Stadia will also support publisher subscriptions.

Prime examples of this would be EA Access or Xbox Game Pass, both of which give you access to a collection of games for one monthly fee. In the future, it is likely we could see something similar on Stadia, but it is up to each individual publisher to make it available or not.

Finally, we have some bad news for Android TV owners. At launch, Google Stadia will not have support for Android TVs with Chromecast built in. This update comes in response to a question on Reddit from the Stadia community manager who said, "at launch, you'll need to use a Chromecast Ultra to play Stadia on your TV. We're starting with Chromecast Ultra and will continue to add more compatible options."

There was no word on when or if Android TV support would come, so if you're looking to use Stadia on your TV, it looks like you're going to need a Chromecast Ultra. If you don't already have a Chromecast Ultra, then picking up the Stadia Founder's Edition is probably your best bet.

For $129, you'll get the limited edition Night Blue controller, a Chromecast Ultra, Destiny 2, and three months of Stadia Pro for you and a friend.

  • Somebody's paying for that "free."
  • I think people have been sucked into consuls for so long that they forget PC has had free multiplayer since forever. "Paid online (multiplayer)" is a console thing.
  • So wait, his quote implies that regular Chromecasts won't work either.
  • It has been pretty clear that only the Chromecast Ultra will be able to support Stadia.
  • The only reason for that, is because the Chromecast Ultra has bluetooth. You can use any bluetooth controller (Xbox, PS4, generic....).
  • The 'newest' Chromecast 'regular' (1080p) has bluetooth added. They're only supporting CC Ultra to push the 4k streaming ability that you get by giving them money for a Pro subscription.
  • I've seen no indication anywhere that you can BYOC to the Chromecast. Only to your phone or PC. Everything else has indicated that TV play will require the Stadia controller.
  • Welp I guess it will not work for ShieldTV then.
  • I wouldn't be so sure on that. They said that you can play on any device with a chrome browser. I did install a chrome browser on my Shield TV. We'll see, I guess.
  • Hmmm... interesting potential workaround. Although I'm relatively sure we wouldn't get 4K that way. Still, worth the experiment.
  • I was already disappointed overall with how their service model was designed but if I can't at least play on the shield TV with its nice controller then I'm completely out. Paying a Stadia subscription
    + buying the game
    + paying a multiplayer subscription
    + buying a Chromecast ultra (with less functionality than my shield TV)
    + buying a controller (possibly) This is shaping up to be troublesome. I applaud the effort but the games of service model is just to fractious at this point in history to work how Stadia is designed.
  • Subscription (Optional: It's like Xbox game pass, you could buy games and play all you want on the base version)
    Buying games (Optional: If you go the subscription route, you don't have to buy games)
    Multiplayer subscription (There isn't one if you are playing co-op with people in the same house, however someone elsewhere will probably have to have Pro subscription or own the game. Not sure about details on that.)
    Chromecast Ultra (Not positive on this yet, but I did put the chrome browser on my Shield TV and that's all that they said you need.)
    Controller (They said that you could use any bluetooth controller, which would include Shield TV controller. The benefit of using theirs is that it's connected through wi-fi so, no chance of latency like bluetooth may have.)
  • Well, you'll still need to buy most games. The subscription gives you access to only a small subset for free. Most games, especially the hot ones, will still come at a cost.
    And no, nobody else should need a Pro subscription for multiplayer. Pro only grants you access to a small subset of free games, discounts on paid games, and 4K/5.1. If you're fine with 1080p and bought the game, then you're not going to have to pay for Pro to play with someone else who has Pro.
  • Chromecast Ultra can stream 4K 60Hz HDR on YouTube and Google Play Movies. The Shield can not.
  • My Nvidia shield TV does 4K HDR so I don't understand what you're talking about.
  • It absolutely can. Not sure what you're talking about.