Capcom has launched a demo of Resident Evil Village that’s powered by Google’s Stadia cloud gaming technology, allowing people to try out the horror game in a browser. In a press release, Google says its intent is to let people try out the game regardless of what device they have. The game and demo were already available to Stadia subscribers, but now anyone can try it out for free, provided they have a supported web browser and an Internet connection faster than 10 megabits per second. You don’t even need a Google account; you just navigate to the website, enter your date of birth (the game is rated M) and click the play button.
As for how the demo looks… you definitely get what you pay for with the browser version. Here are a few comparison photos with the Stadia version of the demo on the left and the PS5 version on the right (the PS5 version runs at 4K, Capcom’s demo is up to 1080p).
As someone who mainly cares about story and gameplay, I have to admit that the demo did its job of letting me know what Village is about. And while it’s not as pretty to look at as the PS5 version, I also didn’t have to spend about 10 minutes downloading 8GB of data to play it or worrying 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 to spend money on). That said, the demo’s landing page warns that playing it “can use a large amount of data” depending on how long you play it. (The one-hour time limit that was present in 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’s technology, but without the Stadia branding. Resident Evil Village uses something Google calls Immersive Stream for Games, which allows other companies to white-label the technology behind Stadia. AT&T recently used Immersive Stream for Games to give its customers access to a streaming version of Manage Ultimate Editionand Batman: Arkham Knight therefor.
While Google Stadia also has its own demos (some of which don’t require a Stadia account or subscription at all), it seems the idea has more of a future as a white-label product that companies like Capcom can use for demos, rather than a custom one. standalone game service like Nvidia’s GeForce Now.
Update June 10, 6:39 PM ET: Clarifies the difference between instances of the technology behind Stadia used for demos and the demos available on the Stadia service itself.