These are stressful times, with the Coronavirus keeping us all locked down at home many people are finding solace in videos games, even those who don’t have access to the latest gaming hardware.
Through gaming, separated friends are able to stay in touch, play together and make isolation feel a little less lonely.
Google has announced that its game streaming platform Google Stadia Pro is free in 14 countries for the next two months. All you need is a Google account and a device, and you can also opt-out at any time.
If you are already a Stadia Pro member, you will not be charged over the next two months.
Stadia Pro is Google’s deluxe package which usually cost £8.99 per month and features 4k resolution HDR visuals at 60 Frames per second, with 5.1 surround sound rivalling the latest gaming consoles.
Pro also includes free access to nine games which are:
Serious Sam Collection
Stacks on Stacks
SteamWorld Dig 2
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
Free Pro “claimed” games are only in your library as long as you have a Pro account.
There are currently 38 games available on Google Stadia with 120 being added in later this year including the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 and Baldurs Gate 3.
Pro also includes deals for some titles in their online store, helping you quickly amass a varied games collection.
Any purchased games remain in your account permanently even if you chose to cancel your Stadia Pro account and drop down to the free basic service.
And some worthy of note paid games on Stadia include gore-fest Doom Eternal, western epic Red Red Dead Redemption 2, post-apocalyptic survival shooter Metro Exodus and tactical co-operative shooter The Division 2 are all currently available.
Stadia’s basic package is also available for free and doesn’t include any games but supports HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a frame rate of 60 frames per second.
As I mentioned in my review previously, the great thing about Google Stadia is the low entry requirements as it supports PC, Mac and select smartphones. Even a basic Chromebook can run Stadia – all you really need is a stable internet connection.
Games are easy to pick up and play and will require a mouse and keyboard unless you’re playing on a smartphone.
However, because Google Stadia does not rely on your machine’s processing power its performance is solely reliant on your internet connection speeds this means you need a pretty good connection to run Stadia constantly without issues.
Google has temporarily reduced the default screen resolution from 4k to 1080p in an effort to ease the strain on local bandwidth with so many people’s internet usage going up considerably at this time. However, if you have a very fast connection you can manually change the resolution back to glorious 4K in the Stadia settings.
To sign up are receive two free months of Stadia Pro go to Stadia.com to sign up with your Google account (don’t use your work one!). Then download the Stadia app to your iOS or Android smartphone and launch.
You can then select one of the 9 free games and “claim them” attaching them to your Stadia account or browse the store and purchase some games.
Regardless of your feelings over Stadia and its rocky start, the service has received numerous updates and tweaks since release and performance will continue to see updates and to improvements in future.
So now could be the perfect time to try it for free and opt out if it’s not for you.
If you’re stuck at home on the work laptop or your gaming rig is looking long in the tooth or you are thinking of getting back into gaming but don’t want to sink loads of money into a new machine straightway Google Stadia is worth a try.