Google launches free Stadia game demos for people into cloud gaming

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Google is launching a series of Stadia game demos that are free to play. All existing or new Stadia users will be able to play demos of Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, with more coming later. These will be available for seven days and won’t require a Stadia Pro subscription to play them. All you’ll need to do is click a link, create a Stadia account, and then start playing the game demos streamed from Google’s Stadia cloud servers. It’s a clear attempt from Google to entice more people over to its Stadia service, with an easy and free way to play game demos to see if the service is worth paying for. It should help address concerns around Stadia’s small user base and allow anyone to try out cloud gaming for free. Google is holding three consecutive days of game demos. Each demo game will be available for one week free of charge. It’s interesting to see Google embrace free demos: they were one of the key selling points for Gaikai – one of the original cloud gaming services – but Sony never tried them after buying up Gaikai and rolling its tech into the rival PlayStation Now.

Snapchat reveals that it hits nearly 250 million daily users

Snapchat's user numbers surged during the pandemic to 249 million people using the app daily, the company announced, beating all expectations. That was a jump of 18% year-on-year, and Snapchat says it is now used by three-quarters of 13 to 34-year-olds in the United States. Its revenue is also up by 52% in the same period, to $679m (£520m). The company says the boom in augmented reality, along with its more unusual offerings such as premium shows and sports content have brought in advertisers. It saw shares jump by 23% after the news. Snap's internal figures suggest it is reaching more than 90% of the "Generation Z" population in the US, and more than 60% of 13-34 year olds in the UK, France, Canada and Australia. Snap said its young audience appeals to advertisers and a difficult year in advertising had actually helped it. It said brands used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spends, and had funnelled cash into platforms that share their corporate values. Snap claims its success is down to "excitement" over its unique functions such as augmented reality, which has been adopted faster than they had imagined.