With Google finally offering a totally free tier of Stadia game streaming earlier this month—including a free two-month trial of its expanded Stadia Pro subscription—now seems like a good time to check in on how many people are even interested in trying Google’s new experiment in game distribution. Enter mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower, which is now estimating (via Reuters) that 1 million people have installed the Stadia app across iOS and Android.
Mobile app downloads aren’t a perfect analogue for actual Stadia usage. People can download the free app on Android or iOS to browse Stadia’s offerings without signing up for the service, for instance (and the iOS version doesn’t even support direct game streaming currently). Some Stadia users might also ignore the mobile apps in favor of playing exclusively via browser or a Chromecast Ultra. And app downloads tell us nothing about how much time users are spending playing Stadia, or if they’re sticking with the service after their initial download.
All that said, the app download numbers provide a good rough estimate for how many people have even tested Stadia’s streaming offerings. Sensor Tower’s new 1 million download estimate is up quite a bit from the 750,000 total Stadia app downloads the firm estimated earlier in April, just before the free tier rolled out.
That recent growth is faster than the estimated 175,000 Stadia app downloads Google saw in the two weeks after its November launch. That’s not too surprising, since the launch audience was limited by a $130 upfront payment requirement and Google’s struggles to fulfill all of its initial Stadia pre-orders.
Free trial lookie-loos?
There are already some signs that the fresh burst of “free access” interest in Stadia is dropping off a bit, though. Data from App Annie shows the Android version of the Stadia app peaking at #17 in Google Play’s “Entertainment” category on April 10, before starting a precipitous fall to #181 as of April 22. On the iOS App Store, App Annie shows the app peaking at a #38 “Entertainment” ranking on April 8 before dropping to #329 by April 22.
Back in February, Nvidia announced that it had attracted a million users for its GeForce Now streaming service just weeks after launching out of a closed beta with its own limited free tier and 90-day free trial period. For contrast, both Sony and Microsoft announced a million sales of their new consoles in their first weekend after launching in late 2013.
After the initial two-month Stadia Pro trial is complete, free tier users will be limited to 1080p streaming resolution, stereo sound, and non-HDR colors. Signing up for the $10/month Pro subscription also gives instant access to a library of nine streaming games; otherwise, Stadia games need to be purchased individually. Stadia users need to purchase a Chromecast Ultra and Wi-Fi enabled Stadia controller to play on a TV.
An Ars analysis from January found only a few thousand players had accessed that month’s free edition of Thumper on their Stadia Pro accounts.
Listing image by Kyle Orland