Google Stadia Will Not Support Game Downloads: Phil Harrison

Google Stadia Will Not Support Game Downloads: Phil Harrison
  • Google Stadia’s pricing is unknown at the moment
  • Stadia will not support offline play as it’s "not technically possible"
  • Google will be making its own games for Stadia

Google's Stadia game streaming service was launched at GDC 2019, but several details such as exclusive games, whether there will be offline support, and pricing were missing from the keynote. Some of these details have now emerged, via Google VP Phil Harrison. Before you get too excited, there's no way to download and play Google Stadia games. Harrison said the company is looking at making games, which means we could see Google Stadia exclusive games in the future. This was expected because Google hired Jade Raymond, the producer of the first Assassin's Creed game, as VP in a move mooted to add original games to Google's catalogue.

Google VP Phil Harrison, in an interview with Gamespot, revealed that the company will be working on its own games. He added that the games Google makes will be exclusive to the service and that downloads will not be supported on Google Stadia, stating that it's “not technically possible”.

He told Gamespot: “It was a conversation that I had with Google leadership before I joined the company. My point of view was in order to really deliver on the promise of this platform, we had to build our own games. We had to build our own experiences, and that was a very fundamental, strategic direction that we needed to move in.”

Harrison added that Google would be looking at games built specifically for a data centre. He told Gamespot that Google's not too worried about such games showing up on other game streaming services, because it means developers “are starting to innovate and think about the future and (build) a 21st century game, rather than a 20th century game”.

Harrison told Gamespot that they have a pricing model in mind for Google Stadia but they aren't ready to talk about it just yet. There has not been any concrete information on the pricing for Google Stadia but we wouldn't be surprised if there was some kind of a free tier apart from a paid service.

Google Stadia was announced at GDC 2019 and will launch initially in the US, UK, Europe, and Canada. There's no word on when Google Stadia will launch in India. If game streaming services take off in a big way, then PS5 and the next Xbox might as well be the last dedicated gaming consoles before the world moves to streaming entirely. According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, game streaming will be better than using a console or PC but at the moment infrastructure issues may prevent that statement from coming true particularly in India.

That said, the lack of local downloads may be a deterrent for some. Previously, Google's services have launched without offline functionality such as Maps, only to receive them later. Even Netflix, the video streaming service Google seems to be modelling Stadia on, supports downloads. It will be interesting to see if Harrison's statements hold up when the company decides to bring the service to markets like India.

If you're a fan of video games, check out Transition, Gadgets 360's gaming podcast. You can listen to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS, or just listen to this week's episode by hitting the play button below.


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Further reading: Google Stadia, GDC 2019, GDC
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