Google has confirmed that users in all countries that support Google Stadia will now be able to access the cloud streaming service for free.
To access the free version of Google Stadia, you’ll just need to sign-up at the Stadia website using your Gmail account. If you sign-up today, you’ll also receive two free months of the Stadia Pro subscription. If you’re already a Pro member, this will grant you two free months of the premium service. You can then choose to renew or cancel your Pro subscription at the end of that trial period.
Those who access the free version of Google Stadia will still need to download Stadia-supported games through the service’s store in order to stream them over the service. You’ll also be capped at 1080p/60 FPS and stereo surround sound. Pro members will be able to access a collection of free games which currently includes titles like Destiny 2 and Thumper. They’ll also be able to stream games over 4K and HDR. Both member tiers also grant you access to Stadia’s mobile capabilities which allows you to play supported games across supported mobile devices.
While Google always intended to release a free version of Google Stadia, it seems that the spread of the coronavirus may have encouraged them to expedite the release of that option.
That being said, the addition of this free option does highlight some of the complaints and concerns people have had with Google’s cloud streaming service. The fact you don’t get any free games with the free option is one thing, but the bigger problem is that you can’t even play supported games you may own if you purchased them from another service. Of course, that feature has caused trouble for companies like Nvidia and their own cloud ambitions.
There’s also the matter of connectivity. Google Stadia requires a relatively fast internet connection to access in the first place, and it requires a really fast internet connection to use in 4K. Not only do some people not have access to said speeds, but at a time when some throttling is occurring due to so many people being inside more often, this could prove to be a somewhat awkward time to spread a service like Stadia.
Still, the addition of this free option is welcome and may allow Google to test their cloud service across a much larger market.