Google removes the $ 130 entry fee for Stadia’s unlimited cloud gaming service, said the company on Wednesday, making free high-end video games available to anyone who has a computer during the coronavirus pandemic.
This step gives millions of people in 14 countries access to big-budget video games without spending hundreds of dollars on powerful gaming or PC consoles. With many worlds urged to stay home during a virus outbreak, interest in playing video games has increased. The World Health Organization has supported a game industry initiative called #PlayApartTogether to encourage social distance and games.
By making Stadia free now, Google is not only taking market opportunities but is also trying to expand its advantages in cloud gaming over competitors such as Amazon, Microsoft and Nvidia, which are building their own platform.
“Maintaining social distance is very important, but staying at home for a long time can be difficult and feel isolated,” Phil Harrison, Google’s vice president for Stadia, said in a blog post announcing the change. “Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you are stuck at home.”
Traditionally, complicated calculations needed to turn on video games have been done on computers, game machines, or mobile devices used by players. But with cloud gaming, these calculations are performed on remote company servers.
That means complicated games can be played even on cheap laptops that don’t have a powerful processor, provided the player has adequate internet bandwidth. (Google, who released Stadia in November, recommends at least 10 megabits per second, although more speed is always beneficial.)
Cloud gaming is a very small segment The $ 160 billion video game industry but is expected to grow quickly.
Until Google’s announcement, using Stadia required spending $ 129.99 for a special game controller, a Chromecast streaming device, and access to services. Now the service will be available at Stadia.com for almost anyone with a Chrome browser and Gmail account.
Both Mac and Windows users can play games with their mouse and keyboard or use a controller. This service also works on many Android devices. Stadia does not replace a special machine for serious gamers, but it seems strong enough for ordinary players.
Once in Stadia, people generally have to buy individual games. In its announcement, Google also said it was making the Stadia Pro level, which includes full access to the rotation options of around 10 games and costs $ 9.99 per month, free for two months. After that, basic access to Stadia will remain free, the company said.
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