Includes access to nine games, including Destiny 2.
Google is making its much-maligned video game streaming service, Stadia, free for two months, in response to what it calls “some of the most challenging times in recent memory”.
“Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating,” wrote Stadia vice president and general manager Phil Harrison in a new blog post, “Video games can be a valuable way to socialise with friends and family when you’re stuck at home, so we’re giving gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia for two months.”
Those interested in putting Stadia through its paces can do so, simply by signing up via the official website, whereupon “instant access” will be provided to nine games, including GRID, Destiny 2: The Collection, and Thumper.
Once you’ve got the Stadia app installed on your iOS or Android device, games can be played through your laptop, desktop, or Chrome OS tablet, using a compatible controller or keyboard and mouse, as long as they’re HID compliant. It’s also possible to play wirelessly using a Pixel or other supported Android device.
Any additional games purchased during the trial will remain tied to your Stadia account, even if you choose not to continue your subscription. And on that subject, it’s worth pointing out that you’ll need to opt-out when you’ve had enough, otherwise you’ll be charged the usual £8.99/$9.99 USD per month fee. Existing Stadia Pro subscribers, incidentally, won’t be charged for the next two months.
Google is keen to stress – given that it’s essentially encouraging increased broadband usage at a time when bandwidth demands are high and other companies such as Valve and Sony are taking steps to reduce usage – that it will be taking a “responsible approach to internet traffic”.
“For Stadia, we’ve always adjusted bandwidth use based on a variety of in-home and local internet factors,” it says, “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’s free Stadia offer starts today and will begin rolling out over the next 48 hours,