Stadia held its Stadia Connect event today, revealing some of the latest titles to be brought to the Stadia Pro gaming service, adding to its growing collection of “free” games.
Stadia, a gaming subscription service from Google, brings dozens of popular gaming titles to members for a $9.99 / month service fee. In addition to the titles included in the service fee, many titles are also available to buy at a discount through the Stadia Store.
How Stadia Pro works…
Stadia Pro features a library of games that change monthly. As the subscriber, you can “claim” any of these games, just as if you were buying them (except, they are “free.”)
In contrast to services like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Now, once you claim the title, the title remains in your library, even after the title as left the game library. Game Pass and PlayStation Now games are only available to the member until they are yanked from the library. If you want to continue to play them, now, you must buy them.
The catch with Stadia Pro is that you lose access to all of them if you should ever cancel your services. While that aspect of the service is much the same as others, it does seem advantageous to maintain services where you can keep a game long after it is no longer available “free.” (We think calling the titles “free” is a bit of a misnomer, since obviously, the service has a recurring fee that allows you access to these “free” titles.)
Console-style gaming, without the console
Stadia requires no “special hardware or an invitation to play, just the screens and controllers you already have,” as is explained on the service’s homepage. The service is supported on desktop and laptop computers powered by Windows, MacOS, Linux and ChromeOS, as well as on a wide variety of Android devices and via a TV connected with a ChromeCast Ultra device.
In addition, Stadia supports usage of a wide variety of console controllers from both the Xbox and PlayStation families, connected to the supported platforms via USB or Bluetooth. The supported platforms include gaming via Google Chrome as well supported smartphones with Android 10.0 or later.
Aside from the library of games available to users it Stadia’s Instant Play services. Meaghan Timney, Stadia’s lead of user experience research explains during the Stadia Connect Event the “Instant Play” feature. Basically, if a gamer is watching a video or live stream of a game, the user can click the link in the streamer’s description, and the link will take the user directly into the game they are interested in. Stadia’s cloud-based gaming allows for users to avoid large downloads and launch directly into whatever game they choose on the service.
Similar to services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now, Stadia has amassed an impressive collection games which are available to play through the service for one monthly.
During Stadia Connect, Timney discusses some of the latest titles that will be coming to the service.
Some of the new titles that will coming to the service include Marvel’s Avengers and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Additionally, Cyberpunk 2077 will coming to the service and will be available on the same launch date, later this year.
Some of the titles that will be available via the service later this year include Mafia 2, Mafia 3 Remastered, Borderlands 3, PGA Tour 2K21, WWE Battlegrounds and NBA2K21.
In addition, Outriders from Square Enix, due out late this year, will also be available through the service. This third-person shooter will feature a drop-in and drop-out co-op experience for up to 3 players, and will have the same launch date as for its other supported devices and services.
Also coming to Stadia is FROM software’s 2019 Game of the Year, Sekiro : Shadows Die Twice, which is due to land later this year, as well as Player Unknown’s: Battlegrounds, which will be coming to Stadia on July 30th. Hitman, the game which puts the player into the role of a hired assassin is scheduled to come to the service in January of 2021.
Currently featured games include Elder Scrolls Online, which can be claimed now, but is only available through July 16th as part of Stadia Pro, and supports cross play and cross-progression, which means if the player changes hardware in the future, they lose none of their progess (so long as they continue on the same Stadia account.)
With a Stadia controller and a ChromeCast Ultra connected to your TV, players can connect and play any title, just like with the big name consoles, but at a fraction of the price at $99.99.
We recently secured a Stadia Controller to test out. You can see our Google Stadia unboxing video to get a closer look at the hardware.
You can watch the full 19 minute Stadia Connect event here.
A list of current titles available to claim from the Stadia Pro library, as well as details on joining the service at https://stadia.google.com/.