Google is removing the $130 entry fee for its Stadia cloud-gaming service indefinitely. Giving anyone and everyone access to its catalogue of AAA video games during the coronavirus pandemic, reports the NY Times.
This move gives people in 14 countries free access to major game titles without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a gaming console or a powerful PC. With the majority of Earth’s population staying home amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, interest in playing video games has surged. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has been supporting a game industry initiative called #PlayApartTogether to encourage social distancing and gaming.
Google is effectively seizing market opportunity but is also trying to extend its lead over cloud gaming competitors like Nvidia, Microsoft and Amazon.
“Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating,” says Phil Harrison, Google’s VP for Stadia. “Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you’re stuck at home.”
With Stadia’s cloud gaming capabilities, an interested gamer only needs a very fast internet connection – no console or powerful computer is required. With the Stadia requiring at least 10 MB per seconds in terms of bandwidth, and gaming and entertainment industries around the world trying to throttle internet overuse, the Stadia could face another massive hurdle in terms of players consuming enormous amounts of data running complex games.
The Stadia and Cloud Gaming
A very small segment of the $160-billion video game industry, cloud gaming is only expected to grow.
Until Google’s announcement, the Stadia required spending $129.99 for a special game controller, a Chromecast streaming device and access to the service via subscription. Now the service will be available at Stadia.com to almost anyone with a Chrome browser and a Gmail account.
Both Mac and Windows users will be able to play games either with mouse and keyboard or with gamepads. The service also works on many Android devices, and while the Stadia is not a replacement for the dedicated machines of hardcore gamers it does seem robust enough for casual players.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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