The latest version of Stadia for Android includes continued work toward adding voice chat, “Instant Trials” for Stadia store games, and more.
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.
Voice chat progress
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As we laid out earlier this week, Stadia 3.36 includes continued work toward introducing voice chat to the Android app, a long-missing feature. A new support link was included in the app, which suggested that in-game voice would launch soon, but also that Stadia on Android would still be missing party chat.
Digging deeper, we’ve found progress toward Stadia for Android asking for permission to use the microphone, a process which may involve entering picture-in-picture (or “PIP”).
Turn on mic permissions to speak
Despite the fact that party chat will be initially missing from the app, Stadia 3.36 still includes continued effort toward launching the party system on Android, including some of the various actions you can take as party leader.
One of the biggest potential benefits of cloud gaming is the ability to “try before you buy,” without ever even needing to download the game. On Stadia, this has taken the form of free weekend promotions and the occasional free demo.
With Stadia 3.36, we find that games in the Stadia store may be able to add an “Instant Trial.” From the phrasing, we believe this could offer access to a game before purchasing, whether as a formal demo — like offered by Immortals Fenyx Rising — or possibly time-limited access to the full game. As Instant Trials seem to still be early on in development, we can’t say much with certainty.
The only other potential clue comes from an in-app “flag” that Google developers can enable, which mentions free gameplay for non-Pro members. It’s not clear at this time whether the two are actually related.
Recently, the UK passed a set of rules called the “Age Appropriate Design Code” or “AADC,” under which companies need to ensure that their apps are properly protecting underage users. As Stadia has parental controls and a selection of family-friendly games, it’s no surprise to learn that they will need to comply with those rules as well. To that end, Stadia 3.36 includes some work toward integrating Google’s age verification system into Stadia, for the sake of complying with the AADC.
On Stadia today, to move from one device to another, you have to start your game again on that other device. If you use the “Exit game” option on your current device, your game session will stop and you’ll have to boot up again fresh on the other device. In Stadia 3.36, there’s a lone piece of text that suggests it might become possible to switch from one device to another.
Switch screen to play on
There’s unfortunately not much to go on with this, so we’re left to guess how this potential screen switching feature of Stadia would work. The most obvious way would be for Stadia for Android to offer to “Cast” your session onto your Android TV or Chromecast Ultra.
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