Google’s So Desperate To Make Stadia Work It’s Giving It Away For Free


Less than a year after Stadia’s launch, Google is giving away free controllers and Chromecast Ultras to existing YouTube Premium subscribers.

Google has announced that it will give away Stadia controllers and Chromecast Ultras for the rest of the year to any current YouTube Premium subscribers. This is the latest attempt by Google to gain traction with Stadia, a service that has failed to ignite excitement with gaming audiences of all types. Even when just stacked against cloud services, Nvidia’s GeForce Now has gained more attention and Amazon is waiting in the wings with its Luna platform and its more consumer-friendly subscription model. Early Stadia reviewers came away impressed by the tech, but a multitude of factors are keeping the masses away in droves.

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One of the biggest issues is that Google has a long and storied history of cutting ties with services that don’t perform exceptionally well out of the gate. Reader, Daydream, and Chrome App are just some of the numerous examples of technology that worked just fine but didn’t fit into the corporation’s plans. With Stadia offering digital games at full retail prices rather than through some sort of all-in-one subscription, there’s a legitimate worry that any purchases made there will go up in smoke in just a couple of years.

Related: Why Google Stadia’s New Lineup Is Full Of Old Games

Stadia-focused creator Gem Stadia discovered Google’s new offer several days ago, but it’s only just gone live today. If players are already subscribed to the ad-free YouTube Premium, they can click a few buttons and get a free Stadia Premiere Edition shipped to their homes. This includes the Stadia controller, a Bluetooth gamepad that connects to Wi-Fi in order to communicate directly with Google’s servers. It also includes a Chromecast Ultra, though notably not the most recently released model. That new edition won’t support Stadia until next year, and the included older model of Chromecast is currently the only way to play Stadia in the living room.

This giveaway comes as Stadia nears its one-year anniversary on the market, after premiering on November 19, 2019. The service has been slow to expand its feature set since launch, and it still lacks several of the killer features talked about in its pre-launch press conferences. Features that have been implemented such as the alternate teammate viewpoints and massive multiplayer sessions are limited to just a handful of releases. Stadia’s few exclusive titles include Orcs Must Die 3 and Super Bomberman R Online, but none of them have made any sort of notable impact in the mainstream.

While Google Stadia might be a joke in some circles, it’s also easy to see where Google was coming from with the platform. Google’s cloud technology works great, especially in situations where internet speed is abundant. It won’t be hard to see lots of scenarios where other platforms adopt the technology for instant demos or letting players start a game while it installs. As for Google’s platform, it remains clear that, despite having a few known names on the team, this is a first-time effort by a company that isn’t as dedicated as is really needed in the gaming industry. Software is king for any platform, but Google’s odd choices continue to make it less and less appealing for the developers and publishers it truly needs to succeed in the long term.

Next: Google Stadia Dev Says Streamers Should Pay Fees To Stream Games

Source: Gem Stadia/Twitter

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Updated: November 11, 2020 — 5:03 am

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