Cloudy with a Chance of Games

The Google family of products just got upgraded. On September 30th, Google had their Launch Night In. The half-hour show covered the new products Google has launched from the new speaker, to the Pixel 4a, and 5G, to the much anticipated Chromecast with Google TV. The latter being a source of controversy due to it not having support for Google Stadia at launch. The uproar was swift, and immediate as tweets, posts, and articles went up faster than anyone could blink.

Despite the people saying Google dropped support for Stadia, and treats it like an afterthought, they did confirm that Stadia support is coming in the first half of 2021. I wrote an article talking about why I think this was done. Also lost in all the hoopla was Google giving 3 months of Stadia Pro, YouTube Music, and more when you purchase a Pixel 5 phone (this is for new subscribers only). That sounds like a pretty good deal.

This didn’t quell the outrage, however. I personally don’t see this as a big deal. There was one thing about this though. At the same time as the new product was launching, the previous iteration of the Chromecast (The Chromecast Ultra) was pulled from the store. There were reports of the CCU being discontinued, that is not the case. You can still get one as part of the Premier Edition of Stadia, as it comes bundled with the Stadia Clearly White controller. Opinions of that move vary, so I will let you decide if that’s a good move or not. 

Despite the controversy, Stadia had another solid week, and that seemed to be overshadowed; so I want to go over some things that were missed, or not covered as much.  So, let’s get into them.

In the monthly Savepoint, it was revealed that Stadia now has support for USB-C headsets. This is a welcome addition as the only way to plug in your headset was using the ⅛” port in the bottom of the controller. Now you can use the USB-C port on the top, though you may need to have a splitter in order to charge and play at the same time. This feature wasn’t talked about being supported, it was just added, and that’s great.

In addition to that, Stadia added an awesome new feature to the Stadia controller called “Tandem Mode.” This new feature opens up a lot of accessibility options. Tandem Mode allows you to connect a second controller to your Stadia controller. This will work on your TV, as well as the web version. The secondary can either be another Stadia controller, or a third party controller such as the DualShock 4, the XBOX Adaptive Controller, and the XBOX Elite Series 1 & 2. This seems to be just the beginning for this feature, as it will look to add more options in the near future. I will update you, should any changes come to light.

Not only were new features added to the platform, but new games as well! This includes three new games added to the Pro lineup; including two new games debuting on Stadia Pro and the platform itself. This is highlighted by the much anticipated debut of Dead By Daylight. Risk of Rain was also added for purchase in the Stadia Store. The rest of the games include: Lara Croft & The Temple of Osiris (very fun game), Superhot: Mind Control Delete, Jotun: Valhalla Edition, Human Fall Flat, and Celeste.

Speaking of Dead By Daylight: It also marked the launch of one of Stadia most highly sought after features: Crowd Choice. (Disclaimer: Crowd Choice was announced to launch with this game). Crowd Play was also supposed to launch with it as well. However, that feature was pulled back. Will it be added later? We don’t know. Right now we are in ‘wait and see’ mode.

In anticipation of this new feature being added, Stadia has added YouTube streaming to the platform on the web version. When you open up the settings menu, you should now see YouTube as a selectable option. This will currently allow you to use third-party streaming apps to stream your content to your YouTube channel, provided the channel is connected to your Stadia Gmail account. This has worked for some, and not so much for others as the big concern is for those like myself that don’t have their YouTube, and Stadia accounts on the same Gmail account. I have a small channel (350 subscribers currently), and I want to stream to it. I cannot currently do this, so I cannot use Crowd Choice on my streams. Other users have found a way to make this work, so there is hope.

When you open up the friends menu on the web version, you should also see the “Start A Party” and the new “Live Stream” buttons. If you have everything set up, you should be good to go. You can live stream using OBS, or another third party streaming app. You will also be able to use Crowd Choice! For more information, Stadia has provided an FAQ to guide you through the process, and get you up and running. 

This is just further evidence that while they may not be loud and boisterous; the Stadia team is working hard in the background. Steadily improving the platform little by little to make it one of the best places to play video games.

You can search between PEGI and the ESRB, and you’ll find a bunch of games that were rated for Stadia. This list of games are: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Word: The Game, Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek, Sniper Elite 4, Secret Neighbor, Just Dance 2021, Baldur’s Gate III (which launches on October 6th in early access), Far Cry: New Dawn, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, and Saints Row The Third – The Full Package.

This has led to speculation that the Stadia Fall Connect could be right around the corner. I’m not so sure though. Most games (with a few exceptions) were already announced for Stadia months ago for some, and recently for others. However, with the one year anniversary looming next month; it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that this may in fact be true. Time will tell in that regard.

Finally on the feature side, Family Sharing is getting a lot more details. You find out what you can share and how it will work when it arrives here.

In conclusion: this week capped off a solid month for Stadia. To get a full recap, you can check out the Savepoint. That’s it for me. I hope you found this informative, and encouraging. See you in the next article.

Happy Gaming.

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