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Stadia's free tier to launch at some point in 'the next few months'

Stadia launched to paying Founders and Premier Edition purchasers back in November, and the free tier billed as Stadia Base will open the service up to the general public in a matter of months.

Stadia will, according to Google VP Phil Harrison, open up the free-to-access version of its cloud based game streaming service in the very near future.

Speaking to Protocol, Harrison said that Google will launch the free side of its Stadia platform in just a manner of months.

"The big strategic difference is that over the next few months you will be able to experience Stadia for free," Harrison tells Protocol. "No money down, without having to put a box in your home, you can just click and play amazing games straight from our data center."

The platform’s intent had always been to launch early for those that shelled out cash for either a Founders or Premier Edition bundle, with the free-to-use Stadia Base tier slated to go live in 2020. Up until now, Google had yet to narrow the launch window for Stadia Base down beyond that originally offered 12 month period.

With the base version of Stadia live, players will be able to sign up for the service and both buy and play games through Stadia just as they would on a local game console, but instead using a Chrome browser, select Android devices, or Chromecast Ultra-linked TV set.

That drastically lowers the barrier of entry for Stadia which, up until now, required the aforementioned bundle purchase (priced at $129) or a buddy pass invite from an existing subscriber. Since Stadia’s early pitch centered around removing the usual friction of using a physical game console, the addition is a long time coming.  

Base users have the option to buy in to Stadia’s pro subscription plan as well and pay a monthly fee for access to better stream quality, a free game library, and other perks.

All this, shared in an interview with Protocol rather than an official update post from Google, comes shortly after existing Stadia users blasted Google for sparse communication and a lack of support. Following that, Google pointed Stadia users toward its weekly forum updates and blog posts for more information, and said that blame for a slow release cadence lies with the game publishers, not Google.  

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