Google Stadia's Failure Is Almost Complete

from the deprioritized-indeed dept

While Google’s Stadia game streaming service arrived with a lot of promise, it generally landed with a disappointing thud. A limited catalog, deployment issues, and a quality that couldn’t match current gen game consoles meant the service just never saw the kind of traction Google (or a lot of other people) originally envisioned. In the years since, developers have been consistently abandoning the platform, and Google has consistently sidelined the service, even shutting down its own development efforts as a parade of executives headed for the exists.

Now, Google is basically just selling the technology off to other companies eager to give video game streaming a go and succeed where Google couldn’t.

In the last few months, Google executives have apparently been working on a plan to salvage some aspect of the project by selling Google Stadia tech to companies like Bungie and Peleton. In short, these companies will license the Google tech (now creatively named “Google Stream”) for use in their own game streaming services called something entirely different. Google’s first party Google Stadia service still exists for now, but it has been “deprioritized” within the company on the way to an inevitable, untimely death:

“The Stadia consumer platform, meanwhile, has been deprioritized within Google, insiders said, with a reduced interest in negotiating blockbuster third-party titles. The focus of leadership is now on securing business deals for Stream, people involved in those conversations said. The changes demonstrate a strategic shift in how Google, which has invested heavily in cloud services, sees its gaming ambitions.”

Unfortunately (for Google) Sony just bought Bungie for $3.6 billion, and already has its own streaming technologies and platforms that Bungie will likely use (Sony also leans on Microsoft’s cloud technology). And while Google also has been working on a game streaming deal with AT&T, such “me too” type efforts from the telecom sector never quite amount to much. That leaves Peloton, which is being rumored as an acquisition target by Amazon, and isn’t doing gaming so much as it’s doing the gamification of exercise.

Somebody will dominate the game streaming space, but it’s not going to be Google. While the Google technology certainly works well, the business plan was an unmitigated failure by any measure. And much like Google Fiber (which Google eventually got bored with and froze without ever really admitting to anybody that’s what happened), Stadia will die without being formally declared as dead, having never seen even a fraction of its originally envisioned potential.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Google Stadia's Failure Is Almost Complete”

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Anonymous Coward says:

on the way to an inevitable, untimely death

But, somehow, every time someone points this out, people show up saying stuff like "if you want it to succeed you need to subscribe!" I think we’re about to go full Iraqi Information Minister here. The reality is that few members of the general public ever cared whether it succeeded or failed, and it’s not our responsibility to convince Google that it’s a good idea.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Chris says:

Parade of deaths

Who would want to invest time or money into anything google produces knowing they will kill it off and not fully commit to it. Apple and Microsoft both have a history of poor first gen products and continued improvement until they are better than most. (Not that both don’t also have failures). I bet google has killed off more products in the past three years than Apple and Microsoft combined for the last 30.

Darkness Of Course (profile) says:

Remember thin clients?

That system was a "Laugh In" contestant, tried so many times, and never succeeded. Until Google’s little netbooks. Decades late.

Games streaming from our servers to your device, whatever it is!
Success and accolades will be immediately forthcoming.

Ah, no it won’t. Games need good to great latency. In particular if the game is MMO, or PVP. Without latency in acceptable ranges streamed games is a thin client without any infrastructure to back it up.

There isn’t even a Laugh In show anymore. Just show Google <enter buzzwordy name here> the door. Since it’s Google, tell them to open the door, go through the door to the outside, and to close the door behind them.

And make sure they do it.

realitymonster says:

Re: Remember thin clients?

So I work in the industry, and I can tell you that Stadia had better performance and less latency than me sitting at a PC at my desk in the office. There were some other problems: setup was honestly a bit of a nightmare, and the process wasn’t well established, so I could never attach a debugger to my remote session, for instance. I’m sure it was possible, we just didn’t seem to have a setup for it.

But as a dev that’s still working from home (and hopes to keep working from home forever) I hope that this tech makes it way out into the industry more broadly and I’ll be able to connect to a game instance on a cloud server and play the build directly on my Mac and still connect remotely to my Windows PC to debug it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Remember thin clients?

Stadia had better performance and less latency than me sitting at a PC at my desk in the office.

Whatever Stadia did to reduce latency could be done locally, which would leave the thin clients with an inherent (latency) disadvantage. John Carmack’s been complaining for years that people (game developers, OS vendors, TV manufacturers) don’t pay enough attention to it, and it could be reduced sometimes by several frames if they did.

Thin clients can have a performance and price advantage, because the "mainframe" can be much more powerful than most people could justify for a home computer. But it’ll probably have to be done by someone with a better reputation than Google.

Anonymous Coward says:

With the free games on epic , cheap games on steam, Microsoft game pass, there’s very little room in the market
for a games streaming service, it might make sense for amazon where they could bundle it with a prime subscription , in most cases it makes more sense just to download the game and install it , no one wants to be experiencing delays when playing a single player game due to average broadband connection
As we saw with 3d TV or HD audio discs they public may not want the product. Also Google has a problem with new services it seems to lose interest unless it gets millions of users streaming may turn out to be like Vr.
It’s a niche product which can only appeal to small minority of gamers even if they were offered it gor free

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"With the free games on epic , cheap games on steam, Microsoft game pass, there’s very little room in the market for a games streaming service"

I’ve said it before, but the major problem with Stadia is that the business model was torpedoed the moment competing services arrived, and they didn’t have anywhere near enough for a running start for it to matter. You had to purchase each game at full retail price, no matter how old the game was. Compare that to Steam and its regular sales, or to Game Pass where you get access to hundreds of games, and Stadia was a non-starter. If they were years ahead of the pack there might have been room to build up a lead and compete on price and reputation later on when competition arrived. But they had months at best with a way less attractive option compared to what was already on the horizon…

"in most cases it makes more sense just to download the game and install it , no one wants to be experiencing delays when playing a single player game due to average broadband connection"

Basically, it all depends on how the system deals with latency issues. On xCloud my experience has been variable, from not noticing any quality drop at all from home (where I might opt to stream instead of trying to free 50GB from my XBox hard drive just to test out a new game) to occasional glitches while streaming from my laptop in a hotel, to showing a friend the system on my phone in a bar. With the latter two, some visible glitches and delays were visible. It was acceptable for most cases, you just wouldn’t want to try setting up a Halo multiplayer match.

Junkyardmagic says:


Commercial failure, or even tech failure is a sweeping judgement. It’s actual success remains to be seen. We used the open source backend to build some pretty amazing tech a couple of years ago, and if others took it up it could be a game changer (ironically not anything to do with gaming)
Mind you , Google probably lost a pile of cash- but they can afford it.

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