Even though Google talked at length about its upcoming streaming service during last week’s Stadia Connect presentation, it seems that there were some payment options it left out of the show. Apparently, in addition to Stadia Pro, Google will also allow you to subscribe to individual publishers. There aren’t a whole lot of details on Stadia publisher subscriptions as they were basically mentioned in passing at E3, but Stadia manager Phil Harrison said enough to get our ears to perk up.
In an interview with Geoff Keighley during Gameslice’s E3 Live show, Harrison briefly touched on the topic of publisher subscriptions, positioning it as something that might be attractive for big publishers with large catalogs. Harrison seemed to suggest that it would be up individual publishers whether or not to offer subscriptions, which would presumably cost an additional monthly fee aside from the $9.99 Stadia Pro plan.
Keighley’s interview with Harrison was just a quick blip during a 10-hour livestream, but folks at Rock Paper Shotgun were able to transcribe all that Harrison said on the matter while the interview was streaming live. Harrison didn’t give any details on pricing – a decision that may rest with each publisher – and he didn’t indicate which publishers were likely to pursue subscriptions.
For now, all we know is that the option will be available to publishers who offer games through Stadia and that Harrison expects some of those publishers to make announcements “in due course.” For those who need a refresher, Google Stadia will eventually (read: some point in 2020) be offered as a free service with streaming resolution capped at 1080p and support for frame rates up to 60 fps. First, however, we’ll see the launch of Stadia Pro in November, which runs $9.99 per month, grants access to a selection of free games, and supports streaming in 4K60.
Regardless of whether you sign up for Stadia Base (as the free version is called) or Stadia Pro, it sounds like you’ll have to buy most of the games you want to play, so publisher subscriptions could definitely become an attractive alternative. As always, though, pricing is the main factor in whether or not such a feature is warmly received, and it’s not hard to imagine publishers overvaluing their libraries. We’ll see how everything shakes out, so stay tuned.