Earlier this week, Google announced that two more games will be joining the Stadia Pro subscription service. Right now if you’re a Stadia Pro subscriber, or someone who pre-ordered a Stadia Founder’s Edition with three months free Stadia Pro, you can play Destiny 2 The Collection and Samurai Showdown for free. As of December the roster of free games is expanding to include Farming Simulator 19 and Tomb Raider the Definitive Edition, both of which are available outside of the Pro subscription right now.
Aside from the fact that Google is adding two games that you may have already purchased to the subscription service that you’ve likely also got, is Stadia Pro worth it for a total of four free games in 2019? To add a bit more context, Stadia is not like the Xbox Game Pass or Netflix, in which you pay a monthly fee for access to all the content in the service. Instead, Stadia Pro offers you a couple of free games, but you still need to buy any other games, most at full price, if you want to play them on the service. Since Stadia Base, the free version of Stadia, isn’t out yet, the only way to use the service is by paying for a subscription, and that doesn’t seem quite right.
On paper, and in practice, Stadia is a confusing service. I wouldn’t opt to pay for a subscription service if I then also had to purchase the games for that service, it’s like paying a TV license in the UK but then also paying for the BBC, which is directly funded by TV license costs. I can see why a lot of people would be put off by this, and I think that the December addition of two games for Stadia Pro subscribers is a sign that Google has realised their service model is warped. Hopefully this will change, and all games will come to Stadia Pro in the future, but until then we’ll just have to wait.
Stadia Pro in 2019
Stadia Pro in 2019 is not a good deal, not if you really look at it. Destiny 2 has just been made free-to-play, so there’s no reason to be paying anything in order to access the game nowadays. Samurai Showdown may well be worth at least £10, I haven’t played it yet so I’m not sure. Farming Simulator 19 is a great game, if you’re into farming. I’m seriously interested in giving the game a go, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it. Finally we have Tomb Raider the Definitive Edition, a great reboot of the Tomb Raider series, but it can be purchased for £4 when it’s on sale elsewhere. Black Friday is this week, so you could pick it up cheap and play it for half of the monthly Stadia Pro subscription cost.
If you purchase Stadia Pro this month, it will cost you about £20 for 2019. The only game that I can see being worth that cost in the free games for Pro subscribers right now is Farming Simulator 19, and that’s only for a very specific audience. Really the service doesn’t add much to Stadia, particularly since 4K streaming isn’t an option currently. As I’ve said before, I pre-ordered the Founder’s Edition and have three months of Pro for free, so the games are of little consequence to me right now. However, for someone looking to get into Stadia this year, I can’t say that it’s worth it.
Ultimately Stadia needs to be changed. Right now it’s a confusing service that seems to want to charge you for two services, even though they’re combined into one in every other version of that service. If Google correct this before the end of 2019, Stadia Pro will be worth it, but as of right now, it’s not worth having Stadia Pro as a paying customer in 2019.