Alex Birlo on February 5, 2021
Last week we received official news from Google that they are closing their own development studio “Stadia Games and Entertainment”, and people started instantly talking about how this is the end.
Hold your horses, nothing is as simple.
First let us quickly recap the state of Google Stadia until today:
Stadia was released in November 2019. It is this bold attempt by Google to carve themselves a niche in the gaming industry by being among the first to have a hand in the development of a new type of technology. In this case – streaming.
Of course, they are not the first and are not the only ones. We have Sony, Microsoft, Nvidea and even Amazon, all dabbling in video game streaming, to varying degrees of success, as well.
And Stadia was supposed to become Google’s ticket into the industry with their own spin on the technology.
But it was quite badly received.
The problem was that for a very long while, at the start, Stadia was in something of a beta phase and to participate you had to essentially pay 3 times to play a game.
You had to cash out to buy Stadia, then you had to pay 10$ of monthly subscription fee, and then buy full 60$ priced games from a limited third-party library.
That sounded ridiculous to most gamers who already owned a console, and there was little in the way of incentive for people to swap to Stadia until it finally turned free.
Currently, it works just like any other console (buy the console, then buy games for it) and the subscription to “Stadia Pro” is no longer mandatory, and works just like your usual “PlayStation Plus” or “Xbox Games with Gold”, giving you access to some free games every month.
The only difference, since it is an all-streaming platform, 4k HDR with 5.1 surround sound streaming is also locked behind the Pro subscription. But seeing as how 4k HDR is still not the standard for the “average Joe”, it is not that big of a deal for most people.
Another problem that did and still does plague Stadia is the fact that streaming technology is not quite there yet.
It makes great developments every year, but the problem of lag and the lack of widespread high-speed internet still hampers the experience around the world.
Many people were foretelling the inevitable doom of Stadia. Taking into account the terrible idea of forcing first beta users to pay for a subscription and the fact that the technology was not yet “good enough”, coupled with the internet problem I previously mentioned.
So now, when Google announced that they are closing their game development studio, everyone started saying that it finally happened – “Stadia is dying just like we foretold”.
While I personally still do not buy into the Stadia thing, for the previously mentioned issues that are a dealbreaker for me, I still want to clarify that the console is in fact not dead yet and spread the word.
I am in favor of more competition in the gaming market, because it benefits the consumers and pushes gaming companies to outperform each other.
When Google announced Stadia, they made essentially two statements, setting two goals:
Technically they are now backing out of only the latter.
In their blog post, announcing the “winding down of SG&E”, they said:
“Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially. Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games.”
Basically they realized that they do not have the experience, time or maybe resources to make their own Triple-A content and decided to focus on perfecting the streaming service while providing only third-party content.
All in all, it is an understandable business move that clearly shows googles priorities and reinforces their commitment to make Stadia a thing.
So for all Stadia users out there – Stadia is not going anywhere.
At worst, Stadia enters a semi-hibernation state, when all they do is silently add more games to the console’s library and work on the quality of the technology itself.
Official Google Products blog post: