This story was originally published and last updated .
In fall 2018, Google made its interest in gaming known with Project Stream, a beta that let users play the high-end Assassin's Creed Odyssey from a humble Chrome tab. The following spring, it announced Stadia, a full-fat gaming platform that would leverage the company's computing and networking prowess to provide users access to games with no dedicated gaming hardware required. That service is available now, and it's getting a lot of attention — both positive and negative. So what's the deal? Here's everything you need to know.
In a recent interview between Protocol and Google executive Phil Harrison, it was revealed that Stadia's free tier will launch "over the next few months," which certainly sounds like acknowledgement it will come well after the late-February timeline many people had anticipated. While this is a letdown for anybody looking to test the waters without forking over for an early access kit, it also brought up bigger concerns for many current members that didn't intend to maintain Pro subscriptions after the 3-month trial ended. Fortunately, we now know a bit more about what will happen for those players that already made game purchases, and they basically have nothing to worry about.
For all the mixed press Stadia has received since launch in November, the cloud gaming service shows a ton of promise. But the real trial of Google's gaming chops will come when the free Base tier rolls out in 2020. To help the paid Pro side stand out, Google is adding two more free games to the list of perks: Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration and Thumper.