Google Stadia goes free for 2 months, cuts resolution to 1080p

Stadia controller
Stadia controller (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Stadia is a cloud game streaming service.
  • It's getting a lot of interesting games in the coming months.
  • For the next two months, anyone can access it for free due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • You can purchase a Stadia bundle for $130 through the Google Store (opens in new tab).

Google Stadia is a cloud game streaming service that launched in November 2019 to a lot of excitement. Unfortunately, the lack of games and technical issues when it comes to resolution and image quality have harmed the reputation of the service.

While you may not want to pay $10 a month to try out Stadia, an unproven service even now, you can try it for free for the next few months. Today, Phil Harrison, the Vice President and General Manager of Stadia, said the following in a press release Android Central received.

We're facing some of the most challenging times in recent memory. Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating. Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you're stuck at home, so we're giving gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia for two months. This is starting today and rolling out over the next 48 hours. Anyone who signs up will get two free months of Stadia Pro with instant access to nine games, including Grid, Destiny 2: The Collection, and Thumper. You can purchase even more games on the store, which will remain yours to play even if you cancel your Stadia Pro subscription. If you're already a paid Stadia Pro subscriber, we won't charge you for the next two months. After that, Stadia Pro is $9.99 a month, but you can opt-out of your subscription at any time... With increased demand due to more people at home during this time, we're taking a responsible approach to internet traffic. For Stadia, we've always adjusted bandwidth use based on a variety of in-home and local internet factors. To reduce load on the internet further, we're working toward a temporary feature that changes the default screen resolution from 4K to 1080p. The vast majority of people on a desktop or laptop won't notice a significant drop in gameplay quality, but you can choose your data usage options in the Stadia app. Like so many people around the world going through this crisis, our support team has been significantly impacted, and our customer support functions.

If you're new, playing on Stadia is simple. Just follow the instructions below.

  • Go to Stadia.com to sign up.
  • Download the Stadia app on Android or iOS.
  • Play on your laptop, desktop, or Chrome OS tablet with a USB supported controller or mouse and keyboard.
  • Play over Wi-Fi on Pixel or many supported Android phones.

Free accounts may be limited because, as 9 to 5 Google reports, many users are getting errors that there isn't enough space.

It's a little odd that Stadia is limiting resolution to 1080p. If you go by Destiny 2 and other multiplayer game numbers, hardly anyone uses Stadia so it's unclear what sort of increased demand they're putting on the internet. Stadia already looks blurry compared to Xbox One X, and now this is just giving players another reason to get Microsoft's console instead because almost all Xbox One X Enhanced games run at native 4K resolution on the system, without any compressing artifacts.

5 Comments
  • Ouch just saw the hit about it going down to 1080p. *Insert shoulder shrug*
  • Wasn't the 1080p tier free anyway?
  • They still haven't launched the free tier, they're giving even those who pay 1080p only.
  • Did you read the article? It defaults to 1080p, but you can change the resolution back to 4k in app settings.
  • Google need to shout about this but not one advert in the UK apart from BT saying they get free X amount of months free when you take out bt Internet.