The Impact of Free Access on Stadia’s Popularity

Last week Google publicly announced that their Stadia service would become free for two months. So, we decided to see the impact it had on the platform’s popularity.

There is no official data published by Google and we do not have any inside sources (at least not yet). However, there is a trick that we have used.

Charlemagne is a Discord bot that shows player activity data on different platforms including Stadia for Destiny 2.

Why Destiny 2? Google markets this game as a major title for the platform and it’s been free on the platform from the very beginning. This game was meant to be one of the driving forces for Stadia’s success.

Here is the data from the bot from the 24th of March (Stadia free promo has not been announced yet):

The Impact of Free Access on Stadia's Popularity

Just a little under five thousand players. That’s a little shy compared with over 430k players on PlayStation and 347k on PC. The total number of Destiny 2 players in April is something in the neighborhood of 1.14m players, so Stadia’s five thousand users result is underwhelming.

Now let’s take a look at the data from the 9th of April. The free period has already started.

The Impact of Free Access on Stadia's Popularity

That is 36k players, which is nearly seven times more than the previous number. And yet, still nowhere near the other platforms.

And now the data from the 18th of April.

The Impact of Free Access on Stadia's Popularity

After a massive spike the number drops back to just 18k.

Why does it happen? Destiny 2 does not support crossplatform play on Stadia. So, even with 36k users matching with players for PvP and raids still takes some time. Hence, Stadia is left with those who are either willing to play just solo or are determined to play on Stadia

Google did learn from their mistake, though. The Division 2 came with the crossplatform support with PC right away.

Let’s sum it up. Looks like the number of active Stadia users has spiked considerably and then started lowering again. Google is yet to learn that the free service does not mean much when the games are pricy and platform limitations are still there.

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