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Google Stadia will be missing some of its biggest features at launch

Google Stadia is mere days away from its official November 19 launch, and the game streaming service promises big innovations such as instant-access gaming via YouTube advertisements and the ability to play directly with streamers. Unfortunately, some of its most interesting features won’t be available from the beginning.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on November 13, the Google Stadia team answered questions from interested players. Several of the most alarming were cataloged by Twitter user Russell Holly, including the bizarre fact that achievements would be captured from the very beginning, but the UI was not yet implemented to alert you whenever you received one.

The multiplayer feature Stream Connect will also not be implemented from the beginning, meaning the asymmetric multiplayer and cooperative squad views made possible by Stream Connect will not work. One game will likely support the feature before the end of the year. The State Share and Crowd Play features — which allow streamers to give their game save to others and let them jump in to play with a stream they’re viewing on YouTube — will also not work until 2020.

Currently, the only mobile phones supported by Stadia are Pixel 3 and newer, and iOS support is coming later. We don’t know how much later, and neither does Stadia’s director of product Andrey Doronichev, who said he hopes “to start expanding to more devices next year.”

The Chromecast Ultra packed with the Stadia Founder’s Edition will work from launch day, while other Chromecast Ultra devices will receive an update shortly afterward to give them support.

Without features like Stream Connect and Crowd Play live at launch, Google Stadia is shaping up to be, a pretty bare-bones experience out of the gate. As we reported earlier this week, only 12 games will be available to play from launch, and all but one of them is available on other platforms already. Several other big-name titles, including Borderlands 3 and Metro Exodus, will follow before the end of the year, but Google has not yet made a case for why those with a traditional console or PC should purchase a subscription yet. That could very well change by next year, but its promised features need to be implemented.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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