After announcing platform-exclusive features in two new games today, Google Stadia is quietly adding another new feature. Starting today with one title, Google Stadia is adding support for free trials to games and it doesn’t even require a Stadia account.

Spotted by Gem, Google Stadia has opened up the ability to get a 30-minute free trial to its exclusive title Hello Engineer. This option allows players to try out the title without a paid Stadia Pro subscription – this title, in particular, is free with Pro currently – for a limited time before spending $20 to purchase it outright.

The option to play the trial appears on the game’s listing page underneath options for Stadia Pro. Once the free trial starts, players have access to the full game with the Stadia sidebar showing a countdown timer for how long the trial lasts. Interestingly, the timer only counts the time from when you start the trial, not active playtime. At the end of the trial, Google asks if you’d like to purchase the game, and, of course, your progress is saved from the end of the trial should you purchase the title.

Update 10/27: Through a Reddit comment, Google confirmed that this feature is in testing now and will be expanded to more games over the “next couple of months,” though we don’t know what these games will include. Better news, though, is that Google says players don’t need a Stadia account at all to play these free trials, taking all friction out of the process. True to the company’s word, we can see this functionality here, although you will still need a Google account to play.

There’s certainly great potential for game-specific free trials on Stadia, especially given the lack of a need for downloads. Google also offers a card-less 30-minute free trial of Stadia Pro to new subscribers, but these game-specific trials could be more useful for current members who want to try a more expensive game before spending any money on it.

Notably, too, the game with this first free trial, Hello Engineer, officially left early access today.

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Ben Schoon

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