Since its surprise announcement earlier this year, Google Stadia faces a number of pressing questions. The basic facts about what speed internet you’ll need to run Google’s game streaming service and the price of a general subscription were revealed at a recent event. Still, the question about how well Stadia games will actually run in the real world remains, not to mention the question about Google Stadia game prices. Will Stadia games be full price? Will they be free with the subscription? Will they be discounted in some way?
Stadia chief Phil Harrison may have provided the answer in a roundtable interview this morning (via Eurogamer), and it might not be one players interested in Stadia want to hear. When asked if games on Google Stadia would cost less than they do on other platforms such as PS4, Xbox One or PC, Harrison suggested that they’d actually be the same price. He specifically replied, “I don’t know why it would be cheaper.”
When asked about why Stadia is charging users a subscription fee as well as full-price games, Harrison suggests that it’s about giving players choice in how they buy things on Stadia. “Not every gamer is ready to move to subscription yet,” he said. “We wanted to give gamers a choice so they could engage in the games they wanted in the way they wanted – and in all cases, without the very high upfront cost of buying a sophisticated device to put under their TV or on their desk.”
This seems to be the main reason why Google expects users to pay for full-price games on top of a subscription fee: Being able to play those games across a range of devices. Stadia’s Founders Edition goes for sale this November and costs $129, which includes three months of Stadia Pro, a three-month Buddy Pass to give to someone else, a Stadia controller, a Google Chromecast Ultra, and a Founder’s gamertag. Stadia Pro on its own will cost $9.99 per month, and it’s been suggested that games will be free with it, although it looks like the majority will have to be paid for in full.