Google Stadia now free to anyone with a Gmail address

Photo: Google

Google’s video game streaming platform, Stadia, is now free to anyone with a Gmail address, the company announced on Wednesday. To sweeten the deal, Google is also giving new users two months of Stadia Pro — including access to nine games — for free.

Existing Stadia Pro subscribers won’t be charged for the next two months of the service, Google said.

Previously, access to Stadia required purchasing the $129 Google Stadia Premiere Edition, a bundle that includes a Chromecast Ultra, a wireless Stadia Controller, and three months of Stadia Pro, the service that offered free games and video streams up to 4K resolution and 60 frames per second with HDR lighting.

As of April 8, access to the base-level version of Stadia — games stream at a maximum resolution of 1080p — will be free by signing up at the Stadia website. Users still have to purchase games to own them, but those games can be played on a PC, Chrome OS tablet, Google Pixel phone, and other supported Android devices. A Stadia Controller (which can be purchased separately for $69) is not required; users can also play with a supported USB controller or mouse and keyboard.

The two free months of Stadia Pro will give users access to the following games, as of April:

After the two-month trial period, Stadia Pro will cost $9.99 per month. Subscribers can cancel their subscriptions online, if they choose to do so.

Google is also making a change to Stadia Pro’s default streaming resolution in an effort to manage bandwidth, similar to efforts from Netflix, Disney, and Sony Interactive Entertainment, according to Stadia vice president and general manager Phil Harrison.

“With increased demand due to more people at home during this time, we’re taking a responsible approach to internet traffic,” Harrison said on the Stadia blog. “For Stadia, we’ve always adjusted bandwidth use based on a variety of in-home and local internet factors. To reduce load on the internet further, we’re working toward a temporary feature that changes the default screen resolution from 4k to 1080p. The vast majority of people on a desktop or laptop won’t notice a significant drop in gameplay quality, but you can choose your​ data usage options​ in the Stadia app.”

Google Stadia launched in November and is currently available in 14 countries. The platform boasts 38 games available to purchase, and Google said it is “tracking more than 120 games coming to Stadia in 2020,” with 10 of those being exclusive to Stadia.

Comments

Not exactly the most exciting list of games, but it’s a great opportunity to test out the service

As someone that has put thousands of hours into Destiny 2 I highly recommend Steamworld Dig 2. I joke but Steamworld Dig 2 is really very fun. Destiny 2 is good too but I’m burnt out on it.

Definitely not for me. I bought the first one on Switch when it was like 49 cents…It bored me.

The second one is a bit more fleshed out. It’s a Dig Dug Metroidvainia. If neither of those interest you then yeah it’s probably not for you.

Yeah, nothing I want to play for free, and I’m not buying games on Stadia. I liked it during the Project Stream Beta….it worked great, and when I thought they were going to do a gamepass type subscription I thought i’d be in.

Where and how exactly? When I visit the official site, there is no option to get it…?!

But as soon as it works – pretty awesome. Always wanted to play Gylt – looks like it could be an all time great one.

Rolling out over the next 48 hours according to the blog post

Yeah I checked their twitter and everyone is asking the same thing. Just says to "keep checking back."

download the app and do it from there, that’s what I had to do.

Same here.

Google should just continue to make the Pro version free until they can deliver the incentives that were supposed to come with the $10/mo subscription.

Ugh, just signed up at work, figured I would be able to try it out on my gen 1 Nvidia Shield TV. Nope, of course the best android based streaming box isn’t supported yet. Hopefully support get’s added soon so this free trial doesn’t go to waste.

Right next to OnLive and the Ouya.

And the Atari VCS

Sony has has bought Gaikai and OnLive patents, that’s what powers PS Now.

It’s not sitting anywhere next to my Ouya or Ngage.

Are there any free games with the basic version?

No, it’s tied in with the Pro version. But right now the Pro version is a joke. The main incentive for signing up for a $10/mo subscription was so that you could stream the games in 4K. But turns out that only happens if the developers program for it, otherwise you’re streaming in 1080p which is the same resolution as the free model.

Free older games is nice, but not $10/mo nice.

  1. The Pro subscription, which includes the free games and 4K/5.1, is free for the next 2 months in all supported regions. For both new and existing subscribers.
  2. If you’re subbed to Pro and have chosen 4K in your settings, the stream is always 4K, 60 fps if your bandwidth can support it. The game may be natively rendering at less then 4K but the stream itself is 4K. This isn’t all dissimilar to current consoles that render in less than 4K or have dynamic rendering for performance reasons.

While the stream may always be in 4K, many games however are not being rendered that way on the service. This was something that Google never made clear, and it was up to gamers to find that out for themselves.

I get what you’re saying, but if I’m paying $10/mo for 4K, then every game best be rendered, not streamed, in true 4K.

Well, you’re paying for the highest quality stream and free games and discounts. The last two things being similar to XBL Gold and PS Plus.

It’d be great if everything could be rendered at native 4K but Google can’t enforce something like that which is clearly up to the developer. However, they can help scale up to 4K and deliver a solid stream which they seem to be doing. As an example, Microsoft says that they are targeting 4K 60 fps and up to 120 fps on the Series X. But, like Stadia, not all games will hit the target.

Google can’t enforce something like that which is clearly up to the developer

I agree, which is precisely why Google should not be charging $120/yr for Stadia Pro since it’s not Google’s call as to whether a game will be rendered in 4K. Like you said, Microsoft and Sony both offer free games every month as part of their respective subscription services, but they do it for half the cost. And if Google can’t commit to true 4K as what was advertised with the Stadia Pro subscription, then the need to have a price that reflects that.

If you’re subbed to Pro and have chosen 4K in your settings, the stream is always 4K, 60 fps if your bandwidth can support it. The game may be natively rendering at less then 4K but the stream itself is 4K. This isn’t all dissimilar to current consoles that render in less than 4K or have dynamic rendering for performance reasons.

I’m not even sure what the logic is here lol. My TV already does an adequate job of converting a 1080 image to 4k, why in the name of samchristjesus would I pay google 10 dollars a month to do the exact same thing for me, and then compress it and introduce artifacts into the image? Even if these were twitch based fighting games, the gain in latency you might have from not needing your TV to upscale is lost to literal streaming.

This isn’t all dissimilar to current consoles that render in less than 4K or have dynamic rendering for performance reasons.

Avoiding hardware performance limits is pretty much the reason why Stadia exists in the first place. Why pay for a Stadia Pro sub if you’re facing the same limits as with a console ?

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