Google's launch of Stadia is now well behind us and this means that the company can start expanding it and delivering on the earlier promises. And, as Google's vice president Phil Harrison confirmed, this includes the free-to-access version.
Now, video game streaming was definitely not a new idea, but its bandwidth dependence and other technical limitations hampered its widespread adoption, something which Google promised Stadia will address.
Google took their time with the introduction and Stadia's early adopters were the premium paying users, of course. The plan to release a free-to-access version in 2020 is still on though.
"The big strategic difference is that over the next few months you will be able to experience Stadia for free", Harrison told Protocol. "No money down, without having to put a box in your home, you can just click and play amazing games straight from our data center", he added.
Depending on how long is Harrison's "the next few months", Stadia's free-to-access edition might easily outshine its premium sibling when it comes to the bang-per-buck factor, as Stadia's Premiere Edition currently goes for $129.
On the other hand, Google also announced 10 exclusives for the first half of 2020, which should address some of the criticism over Stadia's lacking game library. Some of them are just timed exclusives, but the company is planning for multiple in-house releases that will be specifically built for their streaming platform and infrastructure.
In the case of Bungie's Destiny 2, Stadia could certainly use a boost in player numbers, as the initial number of 19,400 melted to 8,020 a month and a half after launch. Live service games tend to live off updates but concurrent player drops are likely to affect matchmaking and consequently, the entire platform experience.
You can find Harrison's statement here .