What just happened? Google's Stadia service didn't get off to the best start, but it has since found a niche in the gaming market. Its users appreciate the ability to play high-fidelity, high-framerate games at the press of a button, and without sacrificing performance. However, the uses of Stadia extend far beyond the Google-customer relationship -- now, the company is offering its under-the-hood tech to telecom giant AT&T as a "white-label" product.
White labeling refers to a business strategy some companies employ whereby they acquire goods produced by another corporation and rebrand them as if they were produced in-house. Under some circumstances, this practice can be shady and even illegal, but in the case of AT&T's Stadia usage, it's completely above-board.
IGN spoke to AT&T and Google and confirmed that the companies have reached some sort of agreement behind closed doors: Google is letting AT&T use its technology to power the telecom firm's latest offer. That offer just so happens to be "free" access to Batman: Arkham Knight, an action-adventure title set in, you guessed it, the Batman universe.
It's the latest entry in the Arkham series of games, which all feature pretty similar gameplay, albeit with minor adjustments and additions. Knight lets you pilot the Batmobile, for example, and was first released in 2015.
To take advantage of AT&T's offer, you'll need an active AT&T Wireless subscription. Since I use a different provider, I cannot test how the process works myself but it seems pretty straightforward. Just visit this page, enter your AT&T wireless number and zip code, succeed at a CAPTCHA, and hit the "Enter Now" button.
What happens after that is anyone's guess. I'm assuming you'll be sent some sort of verification code, which you might need to enter on a subsequent page. Provided AT&T hasn't made any alterations to Stadia, you should be able to boot the game with one click. You will need to be using Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, however.
I have no idea how saves work here, nor do I know how long this little bonus offer will last. It's a strange marketing stunt, and I have some doubts about its potential effectiveness. I'd think the average AT&T customer is not necessarily a gamer; at least, not the type that would get hooked on something as admittedly complicated (for brand-new players) as Arkham, Knight. But maybe the accessible nature of Stadia streaming will sway a few potential subscribers into snagging a long-term contract with AT&T?
Only time will tell. If we hear anything more about this offer or similar ones, we'll keep you in the loop.