In brief: Google isn't giving up on Stadia, despite the game streaming service proving a lot less popular than the company hoped. It's latest attempt to attract new users involves free limited-time trials of games.
YouTube channel Gem (via 9to5Google) spotted that users of Stadia's free option can now access a 30-minute trial of Hello Engineer. It's already free to those who subscribe to the service's Pro tier, while those on the free tier have to pay $20 for the full game. Now, the latter can hit a "free trial" button to try the game for 30 minutes before deciding if it's worth the money.
The countdown starts from the moment users begin the trial, rather than only counting the time spent in-game. Once it hits zero, players are asked if they would like to purchase the full title, which will carry over their progress.
A Stadia rep told The Verge that the trials are an experiment that will continue across the coming months, and other selected titles will be included in the coming weeks. But they won't all be 30-minute sessions, and not everyone will see the same games.
Google has tried limited Stadia demos in the past, and we recently heard it is offering its under-the-hood tech to AT&T as a "whitelabel" product, giving those with an AT&T Wireless subscription free access to Batman Arkham Knight.
Google recently gave away free Stadia Premiere Edition kits to anyone who bought or pre-ordered a full-price Stadia game, the latest in a series of similar giveaways. People have been watching the service closely since Google closed down its first-party Stadia game studio earlier this year, but are free trials enough to save it?