Google is indefinitely ditching its $130 starting fee for its cloud gaming service Stadia Pro to encourage gamers to follow social distancing guidelines, it announced Wednesday. Over the next two days, the tech company will extend two free months of the premium service to anyone with a basic computer, which would typically cost $9.99 a month on top of the entry fee.
Stadia chief Phil Harrison explained in a company blog post that free access to Stadia Pro will be available in 14 countries and is compatible with a wide variety of hardware. This is an especially tempting deal for anyone that is currently in the market for a gaming system, or gamers that want to try any of the titles included in Stadia’s game roster.
Everyone who signs up will gain instant access to nine titles, including Destiny 2: The Collection and GRID. Other games can be purchased in the Stadia store for additional fees and users can continue playing them even if they cancel their subscription after these two free months. To top it off, gamers can start playing immediately since Stadia will stream them directly to their devices instead of requiring them to download like traditional consoles or PCs.
Here’s how to get started with your two free months of Stadia Pro, and everything you should expect out of this deal:
How to set up your Stadia Pro account and start gaming
Head to Stadia’s official site, sign up with your email, and download the Stadia app on your iOS or Android mobile device.
Once you’re done with this initial setup, you can get gaming on any desktop or laptop that can run Google Chrome browser, play on TVs that have a Chromecast Ultra, and a handful of Android phones. (Sorry iPhone users, that app will only let you manage your account.)
If you don’t have a Stadia Controller, no sweat. You can use an Xbox One, DualShock 4, Nintendo Switch Pro controller, or simply a mouse and keyboard. But there’s a catch. These controllers will only work with devices running Stadia on a browser, which are mostly computers or laptops. You won't be able to play on your TV using your other console controllers.
The table below lists which controllers will work with different devices, visit the Stadia Help page for more information.
What games will come free with Stadia Pro?
This free Stadia Pro subscription will come with nine free games, including:
- Destiny 2: The Collection
- SteamWorld Dig 2
- SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
- Serious Sam Collection
- Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks)
There are many more games available on Stadia, but gamers will need to buy them individually. Luckily, Stadia Pro offers discounts on certain titles that you’d need to purchase at full price elsewhere. For example, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available for $39.99 instead of $59.99.
What kind of resolution and frame rates can I expect from Stadia Pro?
Typically, Stadia Pro offers subscribers 4K resolution at 60 frames-per-second at HDR format, but that won’t be the case for these two free months. Google is limiting resolution to 1080p to “reduce the load on the internet further.” Spencer explained that this will be a temporary feature due to a spike of internet usage in people using the internet during social distancing.
If you’re planning on running Stadia on a laptop or basic home computer, this won’t really affect you. But anyone with a 4K-supporting TV or monitor won’t be able to make the most out of their previous purchase with Stadia. Users can regulate their data usage options in the Stadia mobile app.