In brief: In what is definitely not a sign that it really needs more users, Google is giving away a free Stadia Premiere Edition kit to anyone who buys or pre-orders a full-price Stadia game. The promotion is running from now until 11:59 PM PT on October 10, and the redemption codes will be sent out by October 20.
The Stadia Premiere Edition kit, which usually costs around $80, includes a Chromecast Ultra and a white Stadia controller. You'll need to buy a Stadia game for $59.99 or more to get one for free. Whether you consider that a good deal or not probably depends on your attitude towards Google's game streaming service, which hasn't threatened the existence of consoles and PCs quite like some predicted (i.e., not at all).
If you do take up the offer, you'll have until November 20 to redeem the code. The offer is valid in the US, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria, and Switzerland. Google says it's available while supplies last, though it's hard to imagine the company running out of kits.
Google has given away Stadia goodies plenty of times in the past. August saw it offer three months of Stadia Pro to YouTube Premium subscribers. The same group was eligible to receive a free Stadia Premiere Edition bundle last November, and it's also given away these kits to buyers of the Stadia versions of Cyberpunk 2077 and Resident Evil Village.
Things haven't been looking very rosy for Stadia for a while now. Google closing down its first-party Stadia game studio at the start of the year was the most significant sign of its troubles. This was followed by product head John Justice's departure in May. During the same month, Google said Stadia is "alive and well," which is the line companies usually roll out when something is far from those things. Even Tim Sweeney seems to think it's struggling.
Sweeney: “My understanding is that after a public launch, Google Stadia has been very significantly scaled back.”— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
To be fair to Google's service, which it now calls a "technology platform for industry partners," it has been receiving plenty of upgrades recently and even started giving publishers and developers a more favorable revenue split. We'll have to wait and see if these additions and the promotions are enough to save it.