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.