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Google Stadia: Will the Cloud Games You Buy Be Yours? What Stadia Says

Stadia hosts an AMA to answer gamers' burning questions.

Google Stadia’s November 14 launch date is rapidly approaching, and gamers still have a flurry of burning questions. Have the lag problems been solved? Which mobile devices will be added? Will there be tablet support? To tackle these and more, Andrey Doronichev, Stadia’s Director of Product, hosted a Reddit AMA Thursday starting at 1 p.m. Eastern.

It was a popular AMA. There were roughly 1,400 comments in the thread by 4:30 p.m. Eastern with questions about upcoming Stadia social features and hardware support. But the consistent theme, the question that seemed to be on the most gamers’ minds, was the question of game ownership. Specifically, gamers wanted to know what would happen to the games they purchase through Stadia if they were to unsubscribe or if Stadia were to shut down?

Last month, Google hosted its first Stadia Connect, a kind of taped press conference, where it revealed that the cloud gaming service will be less like Netflix, and more of a subscription-based marketplace. “Stadia Pro” subscribers will pay $9.99 for access to discounted titles and one free game of the month, which in November will be Destiny 2. People who opt for Stadia’s free service can still buy games, but at full price.

This arrangement means that subscribers will slowly amass a library of titles. But what happens to those titles when you unsubscribe? Doronichev said in the AMA that if users unsubscribe and then subscribe again, they’ll find all their titles there waiting for them. But it also sounds like there’s a catch.

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“You will regain access to those Pro games you claimed in the past while you were a subscriber,” he wrote. “But not the ones that were offered to Pro subscribers while you were unsubscribed.”

In other words, users miss out on the monthly freebie by unsubscribing, and they’ll need to purchase the game even if they subscribe again. But all of their other free games will be safely stored in a list that can be accessed whenever they choose to subscribe again.

The Stadia executive also assured gamers that they’ll be able to export their game data to a local machine. This way if anything goes awry with Stadia, saved games won’t be lost forever. This will be done by using Google Takeout, a program that lets users export copies of data hosted on Google’s cloud servers.

“The games you buy on Stadia are yours to play,” wrote Doronichev. “From day one we’ll support Takeout, so that you can download your game metadata, including saves if you want to.”

Stadia and other cloud gaming services, like xCloud, will fundamentally change how gamers own titles. Just as iTunes and Netflix changed the way we “own” music and movies by doing away with CDs and DVDs, now video games are going to go down the same route.

Based on the AMA, it sounds like Google needs to do more work to foster trust with users and make sure they don’t lose access to content, otherwise they will continue opting to buy hard copies. Stadia seems to have a plan ready to go for November, but the devil’s in the details.

Where Is Starman? Elon Musk Teases SpaceX Mission to Catch Up With Roadster

The iconic car has completed one full rotation.

Starman, SpaceX’s dummy touring the solar system, could soon get a visitor.

Elon Musk, CEO of the space-faring firm, stated on Twitter Sunday that the company could launch a small spacecraft to catch up with Starman and take some photos “in a few years.” Musk, who regularly gives a virtual thumbs-up to fan ideas that eventually emerge as full-fledged projects, did not offer any more suggestions about how the mission could work.

SpaceX Mars City: Here’s How Much Elon Musk's Dream Would Cost

Elon Musk has placed a figure on the scheme that's out-of-this-world.

How much would it cost to build a city on Mars? According to Elon Musk over the weekend, it could be the most expensive construction project in human history — and cost up to an eighth of the value of the entire global economy.

The SpaceX CEO’s vision includes not only sending the first humans to Mars, but to use that mission as a starting point to build a permanent settlement. Assuming all goes to plan, Musk believes that a self-sustaining city could take shape as early as 2050.

PS5: Sony’s New VR Headset Might Not Be What We Expected (for Good Reason)

Reports about PSVR's future miss one key point.

Sony’s PlayStation 5 is shaping up to be a monstrous console. Company insiders have already confirmed an arsenal of next-generation specs that will elevate the in-home gaming experience.

Building the hype even more — a flurry of recent patents and leaks build a strong body of evidence that Sony plans to release a new, wireless PSVR headset alongside the PS5.