Google speaks to fuzzy game-ownership question in new Stadia FAQ


The picture of exactly how Stadia, Google’s upcoming cloud-streaming game service, will function when it formally launches this November became a bit clearer last week. An official FAQ about the service went live at Google’s official support hub shortly before the Independence Day holiday. Arguably the biggest news in the update was one that spoke to Stadia’s fuzzy issue of game ownership—or lack thereof.

The July 3 FAQ proposes a question that may look familiar to anyone who uses digital download services on smartphones and game consoles: “What happens to a game I bought if the publisher stops supporting Stadia in the future? Can I still play the game?” Google emphatically answers that question with a “yes,” adding, “Once you purchase the game, you own the right to play it.” (That clearly differs from owning the game outright, since Stadia will likely sell licenses to access games on its Stadia servers.)

Google’s answer includes enough wiggle room to turn that “yes” into a future “no”: “Outside of unforeseen circumstances, Stadia will aim to keep any previously purchased title available for gameplay.” At the very least, this answer confirms that Stadia games may very well be delisted—meaning, they were once available for play or sale, then later yanked—but that by default, “existing players will still be able to play the [delisted] game.”

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