As the world is trying to cope with the challenge posed by novel coronavirus outbreak, Google on Wednesday made its Stadia online video game service free to provide an escape for those hunkered down at home because of the pandemic.
#Google made its Stadia online video game service free to provide an escape for those hunkered down at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
— Daily Tribune (@tribunephl) April 9, 2020
Launched late last year, Stadia is crafted to let people access console-quality games as easily as they do email on an array of internet-linked devices.
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Stadia is a cloud gaming service and does not require additional computer hardware, only requiring the device to have an internet connection and support for Google Chrome. Stadia works atop YouTube’s functionality in streaming media to the user, as game streaming is seen as an extension of watching video game live streams, according to Google’s Phil Harrison; the name “Stadia”, the Latin plural of “stadium”, is meant to reflect that it is a collection of entertainment, which the viewer can choose to sit back and watch or take an active part in.
Stadia initially launched on November 19, 2019, with a Founder’s Pack, which included a Chromecast Ultra, a Stadia controller, three months of Pro service, and an additional three months of Pro service to gift to a friend.
“Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating,” Stadia vice president Phil Harrison said in an online post. “Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you’re stuck at home,” it added.
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Google is offering free access to Stadia for two months. Availability was expected to be rolled out to 14 countries by the end of this week. Those who sign up to the service will be able to play nine games, including a “Destiny” collection, and have the option to buy other titles, according to Harrison. “With increased demand due to more people at home during this time, we’re taking a responsible approach to internet traffic,” Harrison said.
Stadia already adjusts the game streaming load based on internet capabilities where players live but are working on scaling back graphics resolution to lighten the data load online. “The vast majority of people on a desktop or laptop won’t notice a significant drop in gameplay quality,” Harrison said, warning that Stadia tech support might be impeded due to Google staff working from home during the pandemic.
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Google seeking to disrupt the video game world with Stadia, has not disclosed as to how many fans the service has attracted since its November launch.
Google sells kits that contain a Stadia controller and a pendant-shaped Chromecast Ultra wireless connection device that plugs into television sets. Stadia games are also playable using Google Chrome web browser software on computers and with Google-made Pixel smartphones from the second-generation onward.