Downloads stood at around the half a million mark about a month ago, marking a significant surge in interest in the service in recent weeks.
Part of this can be explained by a record jump in interest and sales of video game products as a direct consequence of lockdown measures enacted across the globe to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With more people than ever stuck at home, many are turning to video games to pass the time.
While the pandemic has undoubtedly played a part in an uptick in Stadia’s fortune, the sudden increase in users is mainly down to Google launching a free tier for Stadia earlier this month. Support for browser play and third-party controllers also helped as it cut down on the need for proprietary Google hardware (Chromecast Ultra) to use Stadia.
Alongside, Google opted to give away two free months of Stadia Pro, the service’s premium tier, for owners of a Gmail account. Stadia Pro not only offers better quality streaming and HDR functionality but also includes several free titles. These are Destiny 2: The Collection, GRID, Gylt, SteamWorld Dig 2, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech, Serious Sam Collection, Spitlings, Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks), and Thumper.
First-timers don’t have to spend any money to try out the service. Free of concerns about wasting money on an unproven product, interested parties have flocked to Stadia to see what all the fuss is about leading to 225,000 global downloads in the week Google made the announcement.
It will be interesting to see whether these figures continue to surge upwards once the two-month trial runs out, especially given that the free tier requires users to purchase games outright to play them. With many titles priced higher on Stadia than other platforms, there’s a reluctance to invest in games that, in most cases, have been available for well over a year.