Google's game streaming service Stadia continues to gradually roll out new features, one of which went up yesterday with Free Weekends now being a thing. Plus, another round-up on recent Stadia info.
I'm surprised it actually took this long. Free Weekends are a great way to trial games, and something Steam has been doing for quite a long time now. Partly thanks to demos at some point becoming more of a rarity. The thing is, for a game streaming service like this it makes a whole lot more sense, since there's no lengthy initial downloads. You can jump in practically instantly and see if you like it and play a good few hours. Then perhaps buy it.
Pictured: how it looks now on the Stadia store.
The only thing that's dumb about the Stadia version of a Free Weekend, is that at least in this case it's locked to Stadia Pro, so only people subscribing with the monthly payment can use it. I feel that if Stadia opened up such an important trial feature to everyone, that might see more people actually use it. Especially since it's all in the cloud, it saves all your progress and so you could come back to it any time across computers and other devices. The convenience of it continues to be a big pro for it (despite plenty of other drawbacks - bandwidth, latency, country availability and so on).
On top of Borderlands 3 being free to play on Stadia until Aug 10, 2020 around 7AM UTC it's also on sale.
In other Stadia news, here's a little round-up of other happenings:
- Physics-based puzzle game Relicta is out now on Stadia
- Orcs Must Die! 3, currently a Stadia exclusive is getting a free update on August 10 with Weekly Challenges, improved performance, a few graphics improvements and more.
- Marvel Avengers launches for Stadia on September 4
- Serious Sam 4 launches for Stadia on September 24 (all platforms delayed to that date)
- Apple have decided to ban both Stadia and Microsoft's xCloud from their mobile devices
Something else that's interesting: after the release of Celeste to Stadia, game porter and software developer Ethan Lee did a little write-up of the process. The details are certainly interesting, especially how "Stadia is truly remarkable in that it is literally just a Linux system without a desktop or display server" and how so little was changed between the desktop Linux build to get it live on Stadia. It goes to show that many Stadia games could likely work just fine on a standard Linux desktop although then we do have the issue of supporting many different hardware/software configurations, which Stadia does take away. Still, Lee mentions how developing for Stadia is quite nice and they "would much rather develop for Stadia than any console". Worth a quick read for sure.
You can play Stadia on Linux with Chromium/Chrome on Stadia.com.