One of the strangest features to be missing from Stadia for Android is the ability to join voice chat. Stadia app version 3.5 moves another big step closer to party chat on Android, while Project Hailstorm dissipates.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Party chat library

Across the variety of Stadia platforms today — Android, Chromecast, Web, and most recently iOS — only Android is unable to join voice calls with friends or random players in your favorite game. Considering even iOS is capable of this seemingly basic feat and we’re well over a year into Stadia’s existence, the missing feature continues to make Android debatably the worst place to play games through Stadia.

With Stadia 3.5, rolling out now via the Play Store, our team has found that Google has included a new library file — libpartychat.so — dedicated to making party chat possible on Android through WebRTC. In fact, not just Android, but Android TV is also mentioned (bolded below).

Java_com_google_chrome_cloudcast_client_androidtv_partychat_PartyChatPluginService_nativeClose

Along with this, the Stadia app now also uses the “MODIFY_AUDIO_SETTINGS” permission, which could also be related to party/voice chat.

While it’s encouraging to see more signs of party chat coming soon, Google has been working on this particular feature for quite some time now, likely even before Stadia launched, so I wouldn’t get preemptively excited.

Hailstorm subsides

For the past few months, we’ve been speculating on something repeatedly teased in the Stadia app, called “Project Hailstorm.” Just as quickly and mysteriously as Hailstorm appeared, all references to it have now been removed altogether from all files.

Paired with the fact that no references to Project Hailstorm ever appeared in Stadia’s web app — or anywhere else really — it’s hard to make heads or tails of what happened here.

April Fools’ gags

While Hailstorm may have disappeared, the Stadia app’s April Fools’ gags are still present and growing. In one, we see that players will be encouraged to install more RAM into their Stadia Controller before playing a particular game. Meanwhile, another gag refers to meshes and spinning wheels.

Please install an additional 640 kB of RAM in your controller to play this game

Mesh must have holes at least 7mm in diameter for optimal gameplay experience. Also, make sure that any nearby wheels are spinning at no more than 20 RPM.

In another bit of text, we can joke that Google has a plan for Stadia to still exist in 2038.

Sorry, this code can only be redeemed after January 20th, 2038.

How all of these various gags will come together remains to be seen, but at least we don’t have much longer to wait.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

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