Google to waive fees and offer two-month free trials!
On Wednesday, Google announced that its premiere cloud-gaming service Stadia—called by some the "Netflix for games"—will be free as interest in gaming skyrockets during the pandemic. The Pro tier of the service was gated by a $130 entry fee, but Google is waiving the fee indefinitely and offering two-month free trials. After the free trial, the subscription costs $9.99 and users can opt-out at any time.
It's a clever move for Google. Videogaming has surged during quarantine conditions and the World Health Organization has been promoting a social media initiative called #PlayApartTogether—what better time to try and expand market share over cloud-gaming competitors?
Wait, what is Stadia exactly?
Normally, new and hot video games require a powerful computer or console to play. But with cloud gaming like Stadia, all the heavy-lifting of running a complex game is done on corporate servers far away, and the gameplay is streamed to your home.
That means that even with an inexpensive laptop or phone, you can play huge games, so long as you have sufficient internet bandwidth (Google recommends internet speeds of at least 10 megabits per second).
In theory, this makes great games more accessible than ever. Gamers don't need to shell out for hardware, wait for software updates, or dedicate space in their homes for gaming computers or consoles. But when Stadia released last November, its reviews were mixed—its library of games didn't impress, it cost a lot of money, and the tech's performance had some skeptical.
But now it's free!
How does the service work?
Stadia Pro (the basic-access Stadia Base isn't available yet) gives you access to a rotating library of nine games including GRID, Destiny 2: The Collection, and Thumper. There's a virtual store where you can purchase more games. Google gives a run-down on how to get started:
If you’re new, playing on Stadia is simple:
- Go to Stadia.com to sign up
- Download the Stadia app on Android or iOS
- Play on your laptop, desktop or Chrome OS tablet with your favorite (HID-compliant) USB supported controller or mouse and keyboard
- Play over Wi-Fi on Pixel or many supported Android phones
If you're looking for something to enjoy with family or friends despite social distancing, a way to get into gaming, or just something to keep you busy—maybe check it out, it's a pretty good deal for $0.
Any interest in Stadia? What are you playing during quarantine?
Comment below and let us know!