Cyberpunk 2077 has finally arrived, but as several members of the RPS Treehouse have been finding out today, some of our creaking PCs just aren't up to playing CD Projekt Red's latest particularly smoothly. It's the kind of game that might make you consider playing it through the cloud instead (especially while we wait for new hardware prices to calm down a bit), so how about this for a silver lining? If you buy Cyberpunk 2077 on Google Stadia before December 18th, then Google will give you a Stadia Premiere Edition absolutely free.
Alas, Stadia's Premiere Edition no longer comes with three free months of Google's 4K-oriented Stadia Pro subscription any more like it did at launch, but it still gets you a free Stadia controller and a Chromecast Ultra for your trouble (the latter of which can also turn your TV into a more general streaming machine if you don't have one with any smart apps built-in), which would normally set you back £90 / $100 if you were to buy it yourself.
Alternatively, if you're sitting thinking, 'Gosh darn it, I just bought a Stadia Premiere Edition last month,' then Google still have one last offer for you. It comes with quite a few caveats, but if you're an existing Stadia Pro subscriber and Cyberpunk 2077 is your first purchase on the Stadia store, then Google will knock £10 / $10 off the price of the game.
Sadly, everyone else still has to pay full whack for the Stadia version of Cyberpunk 2077 (that's £49.99 / $59.99 / €59.99, in case you're wondering), but it does mean you can start playing right away, and without waiting for a 60GB download to finish like you would if you bought the game on Steam, GOG or the Epic Games Store. While Google's Stadia Premiere Edition kit is geared more toward playing games on your TV, you can also play Stadia games through your Chrome web browser on PC or mobile.
You don't technically even need the controller to play games on Stadia, either, as it's fully compatible with your existing mouse and keyboard. You're limited to a streaming resolution of 1920x1080 on the web, internet allowing, but if your PC is looking particularly long in its cybernetic tooth, then it might still get you a better experience than what you'd be able to manage with your current hardware.
When I tested Stadia earlier in the year, I found it was a serviceable cloud gaming service, but it was still a little half-baked. Things haven't really improved much on this front in the intervening months - the number of supported games is still relatively small, and the quality of the stream I get really depends on what time of day I try and use it. My recent attempts at playing Doom Eternal, for example, have all ended rather disastrously, as there was simply too much lag and stutter to play it properly.
There's also Google's worrying track record of canning a lot of their internal projects, and there's no telling if or when Stadia will get the chop, either. I mean, I don't know about you, but giving away almost a hundred quid's worth of hardware with every Cyberpunk 2077 purchase while stocks last doesn't exactly scream a healthy ecosystem if you ask me, but I could be wrong.
Still, if you're willing to take a chance on it and fancy giving Cyberpunk 2077 a go come what may, then at least you can get some free goodies out of it in the process.