So we are running out of days in 2020 and we’ve hit a major milestone for Google’s cloud-gaming platform. November 2020 saw us celebrate the 1-year anniversary of Stadia and some hardcore PR in an attempt to turn around the public perception of Stadia after some serious PR missteps last month. That’s not all though, as some great things have been happening throughout November for one of the front-running game streaming services.
About Stadia ‘Save State’: This is our overview of all the updates, upgrades, and potential pitfalls for Google’s game streaming platform over the previous month. We also decompile the latest versions of the Stadia application and dig into the code online to better understand where Stadia is headed. Expect opinion, information, and speculation on all things Google Stadia, the games, and everything in-between.
Stadia turns “1”
It’s hard to believe that Stadia has been available to Founders for 12 whole months at this stage. It’s been a year of ups and downs – although, unfortunately, those “downs” seem far more pronounced. The bottom line is that Stadia is a far better service now than it was at launch. The first year has felt very much like an early “preview phase” but now it’s time for Google to really kick on and make good on a number of early promises before the service officially went live in November 2019.
Plenty of milestones have been hit, games are now slowly starting to accrue and the future of Stadia looks much, much brighter – at least as of November 2020. Understandably there are fears that Google might pull the plug, but given the massive financial investment and, indeed, damage that would be done by walking away, Google needs to be in it for the long haul.
One saving grace is that Google’s track record of killing paid-for services is actually among the best in the industry. There are very few paid-for services that Google has cut-short beyond many free apps and platforms. Almost all are superseded by other services that the firm deems “better” – which is always open to interpretation. Put it this way, gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Google clearly wants a piece of that atop of the billions the firm already makes from YouTube, Android, and various other online endeavors. Cloud gaming is an inevitability, with few companies able to match the rollout and network capabilities of Google. Being among the first and most established cloud gaming services means that Google can effectively carve out the market ahead of the competition. You’re right to be worried about the plug being pulled, but Stadia is likely to stick around for — at the very least — a while yet.
Video — Stadia ‘Save State’ November 2020!
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November new releases
2020 is nearly over and the bulk of Stadia titles have now already hit the online storefront but there are some notable games still yet to arrive. November 2020 did see some high profile games finally get a release on Stadia — with many being highly anticipated. That’s not all, as ahead of the holiday season, Google has some discounts available on a wide selection of titles as part of the Black Friday sales period. If you wanted to grab a bargain, now is the time to do so.
Six brand new games were added to the admittedly small Stadia game library in November 2020, which isn’t exactly stellar, but better than none at all. There we some more delays with EA confirming that Madden and FIFA 21 will be released early in the “new year”. Sports fans will just have to make do with some of the very small pool of titles already available until then.
The biggest new addition is that of Ubisoft’s Viking simulator Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which sees you pillage the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Britain. Some of the issues with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are said to have been addressed but we’re not quite far enough into the game to really determine if that is the case. If you always wanted to see a Viking parkour game come to fruition, then this is the Stadia game for you.
With Star Wars hype still high thanks to the fantastic Mandalorian Season 2, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order lets you dive right into the expanded universe as Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis. This third-person action-adventure title supposedly took inspiration from Batman: Arkham Asylum, but fuses lightsaber combat with force powers in puzzles and more. Fallen Order achieved some impressive review scores when it debuted on consoles in late 2019, making it a welcome addition to the Stadia library.
PAC MAN makes his bow on Stadia, with the ambiguous yellow blob chomping his way online in November 2020. Mega Tunnel Battle is the battle royale version of PAC MAN that nobody asked for but arrived anyway. It shares a ton of its DNA with Super Bomberman R Online, which either you’ll love or hate accordingly.
Right in time for the holiday season, Family Feud and Just Dance 2021 also arrived on Stadia in November 2020. Now for “hardcore” gamers, you’ll likely turn your nose up at such frivolities but these are the kinds of family-focused titles that are very much needed on the platform.
Ary and the Secret Seasons was the final new addition to the Stadia library for November 2020. It’s an adventure game that feels like a fusion of Avatar and with more than a hint of The Legend of Zelda. Oh how we would love Zelda on Stadia, but alas it will never happen.
So, November 2020 saw a — by Stadia standards anyway — a solid seven new titles arrive:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- PAC MAN Mega Tunnel Battle
- Family Feud
- Little Big Workshop
- Ary and the Secret of Seasons
- Just Dance 2021
Stadia Pro: Upcoming games for December 2020
Stadia Pro members will get a total of six games as part of their premium membership in December 2020. The “free” titles as part of your monthly subscription fee will include the following from December 1, 2020:
- Into the Breach
- Monster Jam Steel Titans
- Secret Neighbor
- Hitman 2
It’s also worthwhile remembering to claim the November free titles as there will be some games leaving the Pro tier. You should still be able to grab Sniper Elite 4, The Gardens Between, Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek, Risk of Rain 2, Republique, and Sundered: Eldritch Edition all as part of your $8.99 per month subscription fee.
Five titles are set to leave the Stadia Pro tier in December, including SUPERHOT, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, Little Nightmares, Hello Neighbor, and Super Bomberman R Online. Destiny 2 also left last month but is now a completely free-to-play game for all Stadia users.
- SteamWorld Dig 2
- SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
- SteamWorld Dig
- SteamWorld Heist PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
- Panzer Dragoon: Remake
- Orcs Must Die! 3
- Rock of Ages 3: Make and Break
- Dead by Daylight
- Human: Fall Flat
- SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE
- Lara Croft: Temple of Osiris Celeste
- Sniper Elite 4
- The Gardens Between
- Hello Neighbor: Hide & See
- Risk of Rain 2
- Sundered: Eldritch Edition
- Into the Breach
- HITMAN 2
- Monster Jam Steel Titans
- Secret Neighbor
Google Stadia: New features added in November 2020
Stadia has a long way to go before it resembles anything close to “complete” with plenty of feature promises yet to be fulfilled. Plenty of new features have hit the service as of November 2020 though, maybe to help celebrate the 1-year milestone but this month signifies some of the most important new additions to the cloud gaming service since launch:
Despite being almost essential for most gaming services, Stadia finally gained instant messaging in November 2020. Hey, a year is a long time to wait for yet another Google messaging platform and it probably should have been available from day one but it is available.
It’s a reasonably solid implementation, with the ability to send messages across all of your devices. There’s a new tab in your Stadia side panel that lets you switch between messages and other contact methods including Party chat etc.
A huge feature for families is undoubtedly Family Sharing. This allows you to create a group of up to 6 people who will have access to your Stadia game library. This includes not only games that were directly purchased, but also games that have been redeemed with a Pro subscription, as we previously discovered.
That means one person with Stadia Pro can share games they’ve redeemed with other users who lack that subscription, all for one monthly fee. When trying to access a game in Stadia Family Sharing, it’s important to note that only one person can be playing a specific title at any given time — unless you’re playing split-screen co-op.
New game notifications on Android and iOS
Stadia for Android and iOS now offers notifications for new game releases and new Stadia features, it’s as simple as that!
Enhanced clip and screenshot sharing
Probably not a massive “new” feature but when sharing a screenshot on mobile, you’ll get an enhanced sharing option that will let you select whether a link is only available to the person you shared with or anyone with the link. Like we said, not a big addition but a notable one nonetheless.
Voice chat capture during video clips
November 2020 saw another notable clip-recording feature: Stadia clips will now record voice chat when you capture an in-game clip. Now this isn’t live or supported in every single game but certain clips will pick up in-game voice chat on your videos. Stadia part voice chat is not included though.
Player profile pages
Another one of those “finally” moments for Stadia as every player now has their own profile page which details things like your game library and associated achievements. This page will vary based on a user’s privacy settings, though. You’ll also see options to add/remove a friend, invite them to a party, or report/block someone. You can even see a user’s achievements from this screen for each game, again so long as their privacy settings allow that. You can adjust your privacy settings here.
As is customary, you can count on us to spend some serious time diving deep into the Google Stadia Android app. It wouldn’t be fair to keep our findings to ourselves, especially when we find upcoming and experimental features will likely be heading to the platform soon. Here are the biggest upcoming or most notable additions to Google Stadia that we found in October 2020:
Stadia on iOS
This is probably the biggest upcoming announcement for Stadia in a while. Apple’s tough enforcement of its App Store policies has led to a sad lack of a playable version of Google Stadia on iOS. That is set to change very soon as public testing of a dedicated progressive web app is set to start within “several weeks” — although no accurate timeframe details were shared when announced.
State share for captures
State Share, is set to get expanded by being integrated directly into Stadia’s screenshot and video capture capabilities. In Stadia for Android version 2.42, we have found that Google has essentially found a way to connect State Share — a feature that lets you jump into a specific place in a Stadia game — directly into screenshots and videos captured by Stadia.
It’s too early to say exactly how games will make use of this capability, but using Crayta — a Stadia exclusive way to create games and play games others have created – is the only currently available game to support the feature. So let’s hope that this expands to more games soon.
AV1 codec support
Game streaming does use a lot of data, there’s no getting around that. But we could see Stadia eventually adopt the AV1 codec to provide up to 30% better performance when playing on low-bandwidth connections. This might not mean a great deal to many people out there, but in summary, this codec is more efficient. In turn, this could mean that your game stream looks better while simultaneously using less data overall. This would be a win-win for everyone.
Our latest Google Stadia reviews
Games announced for Google Stadia in November 2020
Looking ahead, there were quite a few tidbits in wake of the 1-year anniversary of the platform launching. Stadia Director of Games Jack Buser spoke to MobileSyrup and confirmed that over 400 new games are set to head to the platform. They’ll supposedly come from over 200 different developers which hints at the bulk of these games coming from independent studios, although he noted that 2021 is set to be an “incredible” year for Stadia.
What have you been playing on Google Stadia throughout November 2020?
Are you an avid Stadia player? Let us know what you’ve been enjoying on the platform throughout the month. Also, what are you looking forward to the most? Let us know down in the comments section below.
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