Stadia just made it much easier to play the Resident Evil Village demo
Capcom released a demo of Resident Evil Village which is powered by Google’s Stadia cloud gaming technology, allowing people to experience the horror game in a browser. In a press release, Google says the idea is to let people try the game regardless of what device they own. The game and its demo were previously available to Stadia subscribers, but now anyone can try it for free, as long as they have a supported web browser and an internet connection faster than 10 megabits per second. You don’t even need a Google account; all you need to do is navigate to the website, enter your birthday (the game is rated M) and hit the play button.
As for the look of the demo… you definitely get what you pay for with the browser version. Here are some comparison shots with the Stadia version of the demo on the left and the PS5 version on the right (PS5 version runs at 4K, Capcom’s demo maxes out at 1080p).
As someone who primarily cares about story and gameplay, I have to admit that the demo did its job of letting me know what Town is about. And while it’s not as eye-pleasing as the PS5 version, I also didn’t have to spend about 10 minutes downloading 8GB of data to play it or worry about my computer’s capabilities – I clicked the button, and within about 90 seconds I was playing the game (and within three minutes I knew it was too scary for me to spend any money). That said, the demo’s landing page warns that playing “may use a large amount of data” depending on how long you play. (The one-hour time limit present on other versions of the demo has been removed, although the content of the demo is the same, according to Google.)
Capcom isn’t the first to roll out an in-browser game powered by Google technology but without the Stadia brand. Resident Evil Village uses something Google calls Immersive Stream for Games, which lets other companies white-label the technology behind Stadia. AT&T recently used Immersive Stream for Games to give customers access to a streaming version of Control the Ultimate Editionand Batman: Arkham Knight before that.
Although Google Stadia also offers its own demos (some of which don’t require a Stadia account or subscription at all), it seems the idea has more future as a white-label product than companies like Capcom can. use for demos, rather than a standalone gaming service like Nvidia’s GeForce Now.
Updated June 10, 6:39 p.m. ET: Clarified the difference between instances of the technology behind Stadia used for demos and demos available on the Stadia service itself.