Google Stadia Lacks Games In Its Library, Isn't Shelling Out For New Games

from the failure-to-launch dept

This Google Stadia thing is starting to move into full on failure to launch territory. If you’re unfamiliar with the Stadia product, it was pitched by Google as essentially the end of console gaming. Something like trying for “the Netflix of gaming” moniker, the idea is that Google would stream games for a monthly fee, freeing gamers from the need of having dedicated gaming hardware in their homes. The initial launch of the product was met with a public mostly uninterested in or skeptical of the service. Add to all of that the problems the platform had accepting new gamers, what looks like very real resolution issues with how games are delivered visually, and Stadia’s problems getting gamers to “buy in” to the platform more recently, and it’s all looking to be something of a disaster.

It’s not the most public problem Stadia has had thus far, but yet another issue is the empty shelves in Stadia’s library of games. Right now, less than 30 games are on offer, which isn’t exactly the sort of library that gets gamers to give up their consoles. What’s worse, based on feedback gathered from game developers, Google doesn’t appear to be terribly interested in enticing more publishers onto its platform.

As reported by Business Insider, many developers have explained that one of the biggest reasons indies have mostly stayed away from Stadia is the lack of financial incentive from Google. One executive at a publishing company described the amount of money that Google was offering to them as “so low” that it wasn’t even part of the conversation. Another indie dev described how most platform owners, like Microsoft and Epic, offer upfront incentives to entice developers and publishers to create or release games on their stores. But with Google Stadia the incentive was, in the words of that dev, “…kind of non-existent.”

For its part, Google is insisting it’s going to increase its game library four-fold. For developers to come out and publicly discuss their reasons for not getting on board, however, and for those reasons to be the incentives for doing so, this really is starting to feel like one of those Google products that never achieves exit velocity. Everyone remembers Google Plus, for instance, where the company rolled out what was supposed to be a Facebook-killer, but never really backed that claim up with the attention a goal like that would deserve and require.

Public comments like that are only going to compound the lack of incentives for publishers to be on Stadia and create even more trepidation for getting on Stadia. And if the games library never really takes off, neither will Stadia as a whole.

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Comments on “Google Stadia Lacks Games In Its Library, Isn't Shelling Out For New Games”

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

A tenfold increase of one is still only ten

Right now, less than 30 games are on offer, which isn’t exactly the sort of library that gets gamers to give up their consoles.

For its part, Google is insisting it’s going to increase its game library four-fold.

So a hundred and twenty games… eventually… that cost full price but aren’t actually owned by the person paying for them, along with all the other problems plaguing the thing.

Yup, quite the console-killer they’ve got there. A hundred plus games should have been the starting lineup if they wanted to actually compete in the game marketplace, the fact that they are only just inching their way to that point does not exactly inspire confidence that they are doing more than the minimum needed to keep it afloat, if that, and with Google’s history of killing off service that don’t perform as desired Stadia isn’t exactly poised to draw in either developers or players.

Steaming games might be a viable choice sometime down the line should the various issues be resolved, but as it stands Stadia’s offering in that field is woefully lacking and not likely to convince people that the idea is anything more than a stunt for attention unless Google really starts putting some effort into making it an attractive and viable alternative.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: A tenfold increase of one is still only ten

Google has a history of launching ideas at the drop of a hat. 9 out of 10 will fail and the remaining will be a humdinger – like their search engine, for instance, or android.

Stadia though, breaks that pattern. Google appears to have casually tossed it in the ring with a "Meh, whatever" attitude. If Android had been launched the same way it would never have gotten off the ground since it would never have been fixed past version 1.

It looks as if Stadia is the result of one of Google’s 20%-projects with exactly one mid-level manager backing it and no one else willing to sign up any real resources to the attempt.

This is bad enough it almost invites the conspiracy theory that Google launched stadia just to undermine consumer confidence in game streaming because they want to want to give sony’s latest attempts in that field a harder time. Because the alternative theory – that Google is launching a risky project which is costly but still underfunded by orders of magnitude, and no one at google has realized this yet – is even less realistic.

Google is many things. "Dumb as a bag of hammer" isn’t one of those things…

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: A tenfold increase of one is still only ten

I think customers see more ownership in something they download to their computer—even if it can still be made useless—than in something you stream from a remote server. It’s like how consumers feel they have more ownership in music or videos downloaded from iTunes than they do in music streamed using Apple Music or videos streamed using Netflix. Whether or not there is any actual difference in the amount of ownership or the end result, what matters in this regard is just as much about how actual and potential consumers feel as it is about the actual or legal stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A tenfold increase of one is still only ten

However if Google does follow through and expands the game library as planned they will finally exceed the number of games whose title begins with ‘A’ that are available on Sony’s Playstation now service. the expansion should give them pairity with the number of games starting with ‘A’ or ‘B’, if the rate of expansion they should be on rough parity in a little over a decade…

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
HegemonicDistortion (profile) says:

Re: Re:

When you don’t follow through with your huge announced plans (hello, Google Fiber) and axe a bunch of existing products seemingly at random, this is the kind of reluctance and "wait until it shows success" attitude people will have toward your hyped new products.

Paul B says:

Re: Re: Re:

Your really on point.

Google thinks they can go into almost any industry and refuse to play by the rules or even ignore them. They won’t spend an external dime on advertising or training or anything on something that can’t scale to global reach with any kind of human connection.

The enterprise market at Google is almost the same wasteland. No training, no migration help, we want self starters who buy our service with a credit card while reserving the right to demand your CFO call us with 48 hours notice or we delete your corporate account.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Google thinks they can go into almost any industry and refuse to play by the rules or even ignore them. "

The only rules google seem to be ignoring are the ones where major incumbent industries agree not to screw one another up by being too competent in the digital marketplace. Or are you saying Google is violating actual market regulations? If so, feel free to bring the evidence to the SEC.

"They won’t spend an external dime on advertising or training or anything on something that can’t scale to global reach with any kind of human connection. "

In other words someone’s still pissed that Google refuses to manually moderate the way a traditional 18th-century gatekeeper ought to.

"The enterprise market at Google is almost the same wasteland. No training, no migration help…"

And that "someone" is also pissed about the fact that google offers the cheap choice which works quite well for the entrepreneurs who can’t or won’t fork over a huge bagful of cash to incumbent gatekeepers?

Google has many issues which need addressing but halfway through the first paragraph it became quite clear that the only thing you were addressing was Google is smarter and leaner than Sony and Apple! They need to be stopped!.

I’m afraid anyone with a throwaway nick who decides to post largely erroneous anti-google PR from out_of_the_blue needs to back his assertions with some decent citation before the argument flies on this forum.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"How about the rules that you have to give devs and publishers a reason to put their games on your platform?"

I’ll agree that major publishers like Sony do abide by that sort of rule. Mainly in the way of "Do as we say or you are done in this industry", but sure, it’s a rule.

Google has provided ample incentive for google play and google games, etc…but with Stadia it somehow looks as if it’s google’s version of the red-headed step child, or some weird form of abandonware, you’re right about that. Google’s not offering incentive – or appearing to care much what happens with stadia at all.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"…but I know I’d be laughing at how many people are going to lose jobs when Google inevitably axes Stadia."

Not necessarily. The techs currently working on stadia will be probably end up working on whatever project google assigns real backing to. And looking at how lackluster google is resourcing stadia that might be about a dozen people or so.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Even if not, it’s hardly the employees’ fault that the project failed…"

Well…the way IT works these days it’s likely that what you’ve got is a Google project team – who will just move on to the next project, a first layer tech team handling interface and interaction – who’ll just move on to the next project, and a second level hardware team dealing with the server structure – who’ll just move on to their next project.

Stadia isn’t big enough yet to result in decommissioning server parks so I highly doubt we’ll see many layoffs at all if google deep-sixes stadia.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I read that as meaning he’d be laughing at the job losses, not that he wouldn’t. But, sore subject with me at the moment so maybe I’m not reading it properly (close friend was recently laid off through no fault of their own but paperwork was screwed up so they can’t claim unemployment. Of course the incompetent management are unaffected).

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"…close friend was recently laid off through no fault of their own but paperwork was screwed up so they can’t claim unemployment. Of course the incompetent management are unaffected."

That…sucks. My condoleances on behalf of your friend. Every reorganization of the company I work has had me losing a lot of peers as well. Though never without gardening leave and the full package, at least.

It’s usually cold comfort that any company sloppy enough to "lose" or "screw up" the paperwork in layoffs is probably one you wouldn’t want to work for long-term.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Pressed enter too soon…

My point is that when these thing happened, no matter how much you hate the company or product, the people who made you hate them are unlikely to be the ones affected. It’s the poor sods who have been working behind the scenes doing their best job. In fact, it’s usually the people speaking up about how management are screwing up who get the axe first. So, it’s never a good thing to gloat about this stuff.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"In fact, it’s usually the people speaking up about how management are screwing up who get the axe first. So, it’s never a good thing to gloat about this stuff."

That depends though – what type of company it is, what sort of work it’s supposed to do, what those workers actually work on, and just how screwed the workers are if the company isn’t there for them to lift a paycheck doing nine to five.

I’d have a hard time finding sympathy for a landmine factory going out of business, for instance, even if that puts a hundred workers in the unemployment line.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

In that context, sure. But, the context I’m responding to is someone hoping people lose their jobs because the specific entertainment package they are working on has a management structure they dislike. That’s a very different discussion.

There’s a massive difference between taking a job at a company that’s fundamentally immoral and losing the job because someone decided to enforce morals, and someone taking a job at a company that does a lot of good things generally but being assigned to the part that doesn’t make enough money to continue business.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have found GeForce Now to work pretty well. You have to own the games before you can play them on the service, but it uses your existing Steam library. It supports a lot more than 30 games, but they lost many publishers when they recently left beta. I have been playing games on my Mac that could never run on my old Windows computer.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It supports a lot more than 30 games, but they lost many publishers when they recently left beta.

It’s certainly an interesting idea, though my worry is the greed of the publishers will cripple it and keep it from getting any better, as rather than realizing that a service that allows you to play games you otherwise wouldn’t be able to adds value to them and increases the pool of potential buyers far too many publishers are likely to look at it ‘using’ their games and start demanding ‘their’ cut.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"It’s certainly an interesting idea, though my worry is the greed of the publishers will cripple it and keep it from getting any better…"

The same way every great idea has been crippled by publishers over greed and obsessive control issues.

Spotify held the promise of having most music pirates park their ships indefinitely – until the major labels, in the finest tradition of the copyright cult, decided to strangle that promise by draining all the profits away from the service.
Netflix held the same promise about movie piracy. Until we got right back to the cable network mess of having to purchase dozens of subscriptions to cover the desired content.

Any time technology and entrepreneurs come up with a revolution of marketplace convenience the incumbent media industry, refusing to adapt to progress the way every other industry has to, comes right back and shows us why we can’t have nice things.

And i very much doubt game streaming, even if it can be made to work properly for anyone outside of the already existing MS cloud networks, will be any different. The likes of Sony may feel forced to step into the new business model but all they’ll do once there is piss all over the floor in the hope that ruining shit for everyone will send everyone running right back to buying coasters.

All it ever proves is that we can have nice things, but only if we use bittorrent to get them. Because the industry "leaders" in media won’t accept progress.

Anonymous Coward says:

Until the day when everyone in the world has cheap fast broadband
at least 60meg, per second with unlimited caps then stadia was never going to end consoles like sony ps4 or xbox1 .
Also why would sony or microsoft allow all their games on a google service ?
If you like streaming games you likely already own a console ,Stadia is for maybe 5 per cent who like to play games on phones ,tablets and have easy acess to broadband .
i can play games on my xbox or pc whether my broadband is fast or slow
without worrying about exceeding my download cap.
theres 1000,s of games on steam and the epic store ,many are free to play.
Stadia is a niche product ,
there,s nintendo for handheld gamers ,xbox and sony console,s for hd gamers ,
see the rule of 3,3 console,s , in tv, dvd,blueray disc,streaming .
In many markets there is simply no viable space for a new service or device that will appeal to the public or gain any viable no of users .
For the next generation sony will make little profit on selling consoles ,
they make their profit on selling games and providing a platform for apps
on the console.
Google has a habit of closing down service,s if they do not get millions of users or also provide a space to serve ads .
Why would devs or publishers give their games to any service if they are not getting paid
the market rate .
Epic pays up front for indie devs to put their games on the service
,google does not seem to want to spend more money to gain market share .

Anonymous Coward says:

I remember last time stadia came up some idiot here said I was stupid for pointing out there’s no way cutting edge games are going to work over any network because… it’s cutting edge. It needs all the resources possible in that moment measured in time that even the fastest network in the world won’t beat a 10 year old computer at transfer speeds.

Anyways, I was an idiot because "huur duuur if that’s only types of games you care about then you are short sighted!" Oh like the games stadia is trying to push?

Lesser games are already games as a service, there’s plenty of games on roblox you can go play.

PaulT (profile) says:

It’s likely that they’ve realised how much worse their offering looks compared to some upcoming rivals and are trying to renegotiate licencing. Pay full price per game + subscription doesn’t sound as good as accessing a full Xbox Game Pass collection in the cloud at 1/6 of the price. One of the perils of being first out of the gate, especially for a company not already established in the market.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"It’s likely that they’ve realised how much worse their offering looks compared to some upcoming rivals and are trying to renegotiate licencing."

They must have known that from the start…and looking at the way google is pushing Stadia makes me imagine the scene of one or two very loud google managers hollering "come one, come all" through bullhorns at the audience while the rest of Google is being remarkably absent.

If licensing cost was the issue…honestly, I recall when Google wanted to launch their first android smartphone. They wasted 4 billion USD up front for a large package of obsolete motorola patents just to ensure they had ammo in the inevitable smartphone patent free-for-all sure to land on them. That’s a lot of money just to launch a new OS and a phone.

Stadia may have been launched under the google brand but it’s pretty obvious that google doesn’t have Stadia’s back – to the point they don’t even care to invest the money of the petty cash fund they use for starbucks coffee runs in the venture.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not cost at issue I think, but licensing models. If one company is saying "streaming games will come packed with subscription" and the other is saying "pay for the game then pay the sub to access it", the latter will lose out no matter the individual cost. But, google may have negotiated their licensing before they realised competitors were going to offer that alternative so need to renegotiate.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"It’s not cost at issue I think, but licensing models."

I grant you that licensing models are one of those broken lynchpins which might affect this…but I’m pretty sure google usually moves a lot faster than this.

Also a lot smarter. They had a lot of time to sort out their model while the other actors were building theirs. Usually when google faces a potential snag in their model the fix is out within the week – or they drop a crapton of money on whatever will see the issue fixed.

I’m still right back to that vision of Stadia looking like a few lonely google employees with bullhorns and no budget…

michael says:

It's a proof-of-concept

Stadia’s a proof-of-concept platform, the first volley in the streaming games sector that’ll be worth billions in the coming decades. This really isn’t hard to figure out.

The only question is whether google shot themselves in the foot by being the first movers on this.

It’s possible though that just creating Stadia gave them a crapload of IP that’ll be extremely valuable once others start rolling out their own streaming games platforms.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: It's a proof-of-concept

"Stadia’s a proof-of-concept platform, the first volley in the streaming games sector that’ll be worth billions in the coming decades. This really isn’t hard to figure out."

I sort of doubt it.

Android was proof-of-concept, and Google invested 4 billion USD for an obsolete patent portfolio alone and untold amounts of working hours by hundreds of programmers in effort.

Stadia in comparison resembles having a single employee standing with a bullhorn shouting about the service with, apparently, not even the petty cash google could find between it’s couch cushions invested into making it work.

"It’s possible though that just creating Stadia gave them a crapload of IP that’ll be extremely valuable once others start rolling out their own streaming games platforms."

It’s not impossible, although I’m doubtful here as well. Yeah, the developed tech could be useful but if that’s the angle, then MS actually has the lead on this.

You might be right though, because the only way I’m making this all come together in my mind is by assuming that all of Stadia is simply Google running a high-level advertising campaign meant to attract anyone interested in their compression technology.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: It's a proof-of-concept

In other articles, Microsoft have stated that they see Google and Amazon as their competitors in this space and not Sony / Nintendo because of the back end tech. The investment here isn’t as clear cut as delivering a mainstream alternation to iOS, but even if stadia fails it’s hardly wasted money if they use the experience to attract other players to use them instead of Amazon

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