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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.

SpaceX's ultra-bright Starlink satellites took astronomers by surprise

They offer fast internet with low latency, but at what cost?

SpaceX’s dazzling internet satellites, a network called Starlink, took members of the astronomy community by surprise, Inverse has learned.

Starlink has caused headaches for star-gazers, as the first 120 satellites interfere with observations. Gwynne Shotwell, president of Elon Musk’s space-faring firm, told SpaceNews that nobody anticipated these problems: “No one thought of this. We didn’t think of it. The astronomy community didn’t think of it.”

What's Up with Augmented Reality Contact Lenses?

In-eye electronics would be a game-changer in more ways than one.

All the way back in 2008, in short 20-minute bursts, laboratory rabbits saw a future that has never been seen by a human, to this day. Though they didn’t know it, when these creatures opened their eyes in front of researchers at the University of Washington, they were looking at the world through genuine contact lens displays. It’s been almost 10 years since these early, 64-pixel marvels first came into existence and so the questions is, where has the technology gone now?

Biotech study shows the future of surgery will be swallowed

Can light beams replace invasive medical operations?

Getting medical devices into our stomachs is harder than you might think — the human body just isn’t geared up for such an invasion. In fact, the first endoscopies — procedures where the doctor inserts a device into the gastrointestinal tract of a patient — were tested on sword swallowers. But now, in the modern era, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed medical devices that can not only be easily inserted into the body — they can also later be dissolved, simply by pointing an infrared light at their location.

This living building material could offer a green alternative to concrete

Scientists say this material could one day help build habitats on Mars.

Docile and dormant concrete is so last decade. Instead, scientists are now pushing the boundaries of material science and to design living, reproducible concrete — with a little help from bacteria.

A staple of everything from sidewalks to bridges to Brutalist architecture, concrete and cement have changed very little over the past hundred years. However, while this material has proven itself to be (fairly) reliable and stable, it has also proven to be a large source of CO2 pollution. A think tank reported that in 2015 emissions from the production of cement as well as the cement curing process accounted for 8 percent of global CO2 emissions. For comparison, the aviation industry only accounts for 2.5 percent and the US alone accounts for 16 percent.

Flying taxis might be the next impossible promise from Silicon Valley

The industry has been on the verge for a while now. It's got to deliver soon.

Although snubbed by the Oscars, the recent film Uncut Gems makes a bold prediction about the future of urban travel. Late in the story, Adam Sandler’s character Howard Ratner instructs his mistress, Julia, to fly from New York to Connecticut in order to place a bet at a casino. There’s no need for an airport. He simply pulls out his phone and orders her a Blade, which has been operating in real life since 2015, and the chopper is hers.