It's PDXCon, the official Paradox convention, and that means announcements, with confirmation today that a new expansion is coming for Stellaris named Federations, and much like Star Trek's United Federation of Plants, it'll have a particular focus on diplomacy.
While the game already has such a diplomatic system, this expansion will greatly expand on it, with several new intergalactic federations entering the fray in addition to the Galactic Union already seen in the game. These new federations will have specialist focuses, such as the Research Co-Ops for those who are focused on the sciences, for example, as well as other factions based on intergalactic trade, for example.
You can build and expand your federation, by getting new member planets to join, but you'll need to work hard to make sure they all stay in line with the federation's common goals. Doing so lets you level up, increase the size of your fleet, and unlock new perks.
One of the major focuses of the new expansion will be the Galactic Community, once the galaxy becomes more familiar with one another. Once founded, various federations who choose to become members will be able to propose resolutions that can be voted upon by all the memebers - a bit like the United Nations in Space.
There's also going to be a Lithoids species pack on the way soon, which will bring new species that consume minerals such as crystals or rocks to survive rather than traditional food.
There's no release date yet for Federations, but the new Lithoids pack is dropping very soon, on October 24th.