The latest update to the Google Stadia Android app reveals that support for “non-certified” phones and various game demos and other deals might be coming to the platform, according to 9to5Google.
Based on its APK teardown of Stadia app version 2.19, 9to5Google has found listings for these and other features and offers.
Firstly, the app’s mentioning of “non-certified” phones suggests that Google will enable support for mobile devices beyond the selection of Pixel, Samsung, Asus, Razer and OnePlus handsets. Essentially, the app proposes a new ‘Experiments’ section that would let users try to stream Stadia games on another Android phone. Of course, Google also lists a caveat that this could affect game performance, as there’s no guarantee an unsupported device will actually work well.
Additionally, the app suggests that this Experiments section could become a dedicated place for users to test upcoming Stadia features. However, the app doesn’t provide any hints as to what new features might currently be in development.
Demos and deals
Beyond new device options, Google may also be planning to offer a variety of deals on Stadia in an effort to make the platform more accessible. As it stands, while Stadia is free to access for anyone with a Gmail account, the only ways to actually play a game on the platform are to either purchase one outright or claim one for free through an $11.99 CAD/month Stadia Pro subscription.
However, the app teardown indicates that Google may eventually offer free game trials to let people try out specific titles without needing to buy them. Given the greater chance of unstable performance when streaming, these trials would also let someone gauge how well the platform works on their Wi-Fi network before buying into it.
The app doesn’t break down exactly how these demos would work, but it does mention “trial,” “demo,” “free weekend” and “free play period.” Therefore, it seems as though some games will be accessible via a standalone Stadia Store demo (which may or may not be accessible indefinitely), while other trials might only last for a few days or so. That said, the app also mentions that some trials might be exclusive to Stadia Pro subscribers.
Further, Google is seemingly planning for major Stadia Store discounts. During the teardown, 9to5Google found reference to “Summer sale,” “The Summer of Games sale,” “Back to School sale,” “Black Friday deals,” “Holiday deals” and “End of the Year deals.” Specific deals were not hinted at, though.
Elsewhere in the teardown, 9to5Google found an option for “touch controls.” This would allow Stadia users to control games on their phone using an on-screen touchpad, rather than the physical Stadia Controller that’s currently required.
Given that Stadia streams games that are also playable on console and PC, such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Destiny 2 and Doom Eternal, it’s likely that this wouldn’t really be a viable way to play for very long. That said, developers will seemingly have the option to make their game natively support touch controls, which should help.
Finally, the app points to a built-in party chat feature on Stadia. This would allow Stadia users streaming multiplayer games to communicate with each other via voice chat. To support this feature, Google has added “a significant amount of new code related to party UI and the underlying functionality,” says 9to5Google.
It’s important to note that this teardown is by no means a confirmation that any of these features are actually coming to Stadia. Further, since the code-filled APK of an app can be difficult to parse through, 9to5Google acknowledges that its “interpretation of what [features] are may be imperfect.”
Still, Stadia users will likely be reassured in seeing Google at least thinking of major ways to expand upon the nascent streaming service.