Google announced that its Stadia Pro cloud gaming service will be available for free in 14 countries for the next two months. The idea is to give people relief while isolating themselves because of the pandemic. While gaming isn’t a cure for the coronavirus, folks are touting it as a way of social distancing, or preserving our sanity, during a time of great disruption.

“We’re facing some of the most challenging times in recent memory. Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating,” said Stadia vice president Phil Harrison in a blog post. “Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you’re stuck at home, so we’re giving gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia for two months. This is starting today and rolling out over the next 48 hours.”

Anyone who signs up will get two free months of Stadia Pro with instant access to nine games, such as Grid, Destiny 2: The Collection, and Thumper. You can purchase more games on the store, which will remain yours to play even if you cancel your Stadia Pro subscription, Harrison said. If you’re already a paid Stadia Pro subscriber, Google won’t charge you for the next two months.

After that, Stadia Pro is $10 a month, but you can opt out of your subscription at any time. A Stadia controller costs $70.

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If you’re new, playing on Stadia is simple:

  • Go to Stadia.com to sign up
  • Download the Stadia app on Android or iOS
  • Play on your laptop, desktop or Chrome OS tablet with your favorite (HID compliant) USB supported controller or mouse and keyboard
  • Play over Wi-Fi on Pixel or many supported Android phones

With increased demand due to more people at home during this time, Google is taking a responsible approach to internet traffic, Harrison said. “For Stadia, we’ve always adjusted bandwidth use based on a variety of in-home and local internet factors,” he said.

To reduce the load on the internet further, Google is working toward a temporary feature that changes the default screen resolution from 4K to 1080p. The vast majority of people on a desktop or laptop won’t notice a significant drop in gameplay quality, but you can choose your data usage options in the Stadia app. Google says it can do 60 frames per second at HD resolution.

“Like so many people around the world going through this crisis, our support team has been significantly impacted, and our customer support functions are not running at full capacity,” Harrison said.

Phil Harrison is vice president at Google in charge of Stadia.

Above: Phil Harrison is vice president at Google in charge of Stadia.

Image Credit: Google

Google has created an automated Help Center and a set of tips for setting up your home environment. Google also has a “Getting Started Walkthrough.”

Stadia launched on November 19, 2019. It hasn’t had the greatest reviews, largely because it is missing big exclusive games and a number of the touted social parts of the service aren’t ready yet. But Google now has 38 games for purchase on the Stadia store and the company says there are 120 coming in 2020.

Publishers/titles now available on Stadia:

  • 2K: NBA 2K20, Borderlands 3
  • Bandai Namco: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
  • Bethesda: Rage 2, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Doom: Eternal
  • Bungie: Destiny 2
  • Chump Squad: Kine
  • Codemasters: Grid
  • Deep Silver: Metro: Exodus
  • Devolver Digital: Serious Sam Collection
  • Drool: Thumper
  • Giants Software: Farming Simulator 19
  • HandyGames: Spitlings
  • Herringbone Games: Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks)
  • Milestone srl: Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3
  • Modus Games: Lost Words: Beyond the Page
  • Koei Tecmo: Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle
  • Rockstar: Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Sega: Football Manager 2020
  • SNK: Samurai Shodown
  • Square Enix: Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
  • Tequila Works: GYLT
  • THQ: Darksiders Genesis
  • Thunderful Publishing: SteamWorld Dig, SteamWorld Heist, SteamWorld Dig 2, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
  • Ubisoft: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Trials Rising, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, The Crew 2
  • Warner Bros: Mortal Kombat 11

Publishers/games coming to Stadia (announced as of April):

  • Berzerk Studio: Just Shapes & Beats
  • Bethesda: Doom 2016, The Elder Scrolls Online
  • CD Projekt Red: Cyberpunk 2077
  • Capcom (unannounced)
  • Coatsink: Get Packed
  • Dotemu: Windjammers 2
  • Forever Entertainment: Panzer Dragoon Remake
  • Larian Studios; Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Milestone S.r.l.: MotoGPTM20, Monster Jam Steel Titans
  • Modus Games: Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break, Cris Tales
  • Necrosoft Games: Gunsport
  • nWay Games: Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
  • Pandemic Studios: Destroy All Humans!
  • Ravenscourt: Relicta
  • Robot Entertainment: Orcs Must Die! 3
  • Splash Damage
  • Square Enix: Marvel’s Avengers, The Turing Test
  • Superhot: Superhot
  • Ubisoft: Watch Dogs: Legion, Gods & Monsters, Monopoly

Google recently acquired Typhoon Studios and announced a partnership with Splash Damage, adding top gaming talent to Stadia Games and Entertainment. It also opened a new studio in Santa Monica, California.