Stadia’s boss, Phil Harrison, has revealed a little bit more about the free subscription model that will finally be coming to the service. Since it launched, Stadia has only been available to those who are willing to pay for Stadia Pro, the premium subscription service. The free subscription model was always meant to launch afterwards, but it’s getting to be quite a while now. As someone who purchased the Founder’s Edition, I’ve had access to Stadia Pro as part of my purchase until now, but this month I’ll have to start paying.
Specifically, Harrison has told people that a big strategic difference coming to Stadia in the next few months is the fact that they’ll be able to enjoy it for free. He added that there’s no monetary requirement, all you have to do is click, and you’ll be playing games from their data centre immediately. While this really does sound like Harrison is speaking about the free subscription model, I also think that he could be referring to something else entirely.
Since Stadia launched, it’s bothered me that you have to pay for a Pro subscription, and then purchase games on top of that before you can play them. To me, this doesn’t make sense in the form of a subscription model. I think it would make more sense for Google to ask for a Pro subscription free each month, and simply offer a range of games. This would make the service exactly like Netflix or the Xbox Game Pass. Currently, Stadia is the equivalent of paying for Netflix on a monthly basis, but purchasing every movie and TV season you watch as well, it just doesn’t seem to make that much sense.
I believe that Harrison is probably talking about the free subscription model for Stadia here. However, he could also be talking about a big change to Stadia, about the service becoming free to play within the Pro subscription. That would bring the service into line with similar products. While it’s also possible that a free trial could be on the cards, I think the most likely outcome would be getting to play games on Stadia for free, as long as you buy them.
Maybe Google will change how Stadia works in a more drastic way in the future. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this news first.