Google now offering Stadia gaming service for free

Google now offering Stadia gaming service for free

Google is now offering its gaming service, Stadia, for free as people flock to gaming platforms amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The $130 entry fee is waived allowing millions of Google users access to AAA games included in the game catalog. This also gives people without a gaming console or a high-end gaming PC the chance to access the games.

Google’s move is also part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) promotion of gaming as a social activity during this pandemic. WHO started the initiative #PlayApartTogether to limit physical activity without compromising social interaction.

“Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating,” said Phil Harrison, Google Stadia vice president.

“Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you’re stuck at home,” he added.

Google Stadia is currently available in 14 countries but plans of expansion are coming soon.

Google seizing opportunity

Google is currently in a tight competition against other companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Nvidia. All of them are trying to forge their own paths into the gaming industry. With Stadia now being free, Google moves on step ahead against the other companies.

The current cloud-based gaming industry is relatively small and is worth $160 billion as of the moment. However, the pandemic and surge of gamers might double the industry’s value this year.

Making games accessible to entry-level machines

Traditional PC gaming requires a lot of computing power. PCs that are good enough to play AAA at a bare minimum roughly cost $500, which is still outside of many consumers’ range. That changed when Google Stadia was announced.

Through Stadia, entry-level machines with basic components are able to process demanding games. This is done through cloud gaming wherein the complex computations are done by Google’s massive corporate server. This means that modern games that usually require a graphics card, at the minimum, are playable on an entry-level laptop or PC that does not have a powerful enough processor.

The downside for this type of gaming is the Internet speed and bandwidth. Stadia needs to be constantly connected to the Internet while playing and the user has to make sure that there is sufficient bandwidth to be able to play smoothly. The recommended speed is 10 megabits per second.

Stadia Pro free for two months

The Stadia Pro is open for trial for two months. This allows access to 10 games every month. The catalog changes regularly in order for users to try and play different games monthly.

After the two month trial period, a $9.99 fee will be collected. However, basic Stadia will be free permanently.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr/Marco Verch

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