Google launches free Stadia game demos to entice people into cloud gaming

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Google is launching a series of Stadia game demos that are truly free to play. Starting today, existing or new Stadia users will be able to play demos of Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, with more coming later this week. These will be available for seven days and won’t require a Stadia Pro subscription or even a form of payment to play them.

All you’ll need to do is click a link, create a Stadia account, and then start playing the game demos streamed from Google’s Stadia cloud servers. It’s a clear attempt from Google to entice more people over to its Stadia service, with an easy and free way to play game demos to see if the service is worth paying for. It should help address concerns around Stadia’s small user base and allow anyone to try out cloud gaming for free.

Google is holding three consecutive days of game demos and betas, and Humankind will be available tomorrow, with an Immortals Fenyx Rising demo arriving on October 22nd. Each demo game will be available for one week free of charge. Google also announced today that Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is coming to Stadia on November 17th.

It’s interesting to see Google embrace free demos: they were one of the key selling points for Gaikai — one of the original cloud gaming services — but Sony never tried them after buying up Gaikai and rolling its tech into the rival PlayStation Now. Google Stadia is run by Phil Harrison, who used to sit on Gaikai’s advisory board, and Stadia head of business development Jack Buser used to run Sony’s PlayStation Now.

Stadia Pro owners now have 29 claimable games and the release of Cyberpunk 2077 on November 19th to look forward to playing on the cloud gaming service.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly said Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Hello Engineer would be available as free demos. That is incorrect; only Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle will be available starting today with Humankind and Immortals Fenyx Rising available for free later this week. We regret the error.

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