The tech giant has promised a free Stadia option before launching in November 2019, though this is the first time it has been officially available to users.
Now anyone with a Gmail account can sign up for free at Stadia at stadia.google.com. Stadia games can be streamed over Wi-Fi to Pixel phones (or other supported Android phones), to TVs via Chromecast Ultra, or to a Chrome browser via the Stadia website above.
Users will still have to purchase pay-per-view games in the Stadia Store digital store, but this eliminates a major barrier to entry into the service. Previously, the only way to get into Stadia was via the exclusive Google Store, $ 169 CAD Premiere Edition, which includes a Stadia controller, a 4K-compatible Chromecast Ultra and three months of Stadia Pro.
In addition, a consistent Pro subscription was required to continue accessing Stadia. At the regular price of CAD $ 11.99 / month, Stadia Pro is required for 4K streaming and includes access to a catalog of free games, such as Destiny 2: the collection, GRID and Thumper.
In addition, Google offers two months of Pro to anyone who signs up for the free Stadia option. As part of this offer, Google indicates that anyone who already pays for Pro will not be billed for two months. Stadia subscriptions can be managed at any time via the Stadia app on Android and iOS or Stadia on the web.
This is the first time that Google has offered Pro for free to anyone. In the past, Pro bonus subscriptions were only granted to those who purchased a Chromecast Ultra, subscribed to YouTube Premium, or offered their “Buddy Pass” (provided in the Limited Edition Launchers launch pack) containing three months of Pro to a friend.
Google says the free tier rolls out over two days, so keep that in mind if you don’t see the option right away.
As previously confirmed, you will not be able to keep the games you receive for free with Stadia Pro after your subscription has expired. However, free users can continue to access all games they have already purchased, including those purchased with discounts exclusive to Stadia Pro.
In addition to the free option, Google has confirmed that it is making a temporary bandwidth adjustment that will make Stadia default to 1080p streaming for all users. However, you can change the resolution at will in the Stadia app.
Presumably, this is in response to network tension caused by the increase in the number of people staying at home due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Google has already taken similar steps with YouTube around the world, as have services like Netflix Canada and Crave.