The launch of Google Stadia is now just a few days away, and while the ability to stream games straight to a television without the addition of bulky hardware seems novel, it appears that the service will be missing some key features at launch. The core of the service will still be available, but it may not be as feature-complete as many were hoping for.
Google's Andrey Doronichev took to Reddit in a Stadia AMA, offering an update as to what fans can expect from the service when it launches on November 19th. According to Doronichev, Google will be taking a similar approach to how it handles Google Search, meaning that the company will operate the service with "gradual rollout and continuous improvement". This means that Stadia won't release with everything at launch, but Google is planning for weekly updates to the service, including one in the pipeline that should fix a flaw with the Stadia controller.
One of the main missing features will be Family Sharing, which should come shortly after launch. Family Link will be available on day one, so parents are able to manage what content their children can play - presumably to keep them out of any 1,000 player battle royale matches. This means that parents can control which content their kids can use, but will have to purchase it for their accounts. However, Family Sharing is a "high priority" feature according to Google, and it should launch sometime early next year.
Achievements will also be absent at launch, to a degree. Games will still track which achievements have been earned, but the UI won't actually be in place on launch day. Google is currently aiming to have the feature ready shortly after launch, so fans will still be able to see which achievements they've earned from Stadia's launch lineup when it's finally added. Achievements earned before the UI is added will see them drop in a "Mega Achievement" moment.
4K streaming won't be available for PC at launch, either. However, even with a 4K Chromecast, there's a pretty major catch. The only Chromecasts that will support Stadia at launch will be the ones shipped with the Founder's Edition bundle. Those that already have a Chromecast Ultra will have to wait for a firmware update to roll out before they use the service, which may be a major dealbreaker for some that were debating whether or not to pick up Stadia at launch.
Google Stadia will launch on November 19th, 2019.