When was Google Stadia First revealed at GDC 2019 Felt like turning in the tide. There was a constant concern in the air that this could mean the end of traditional platforms for good, with Google having the capital and expertise to make cloud gaming a mainstream option for millions. Outwardly she was destined to rule the world, but she would die with a moan.
When Phil Harrison took to the stage and watched Assassin’s Creed Odyssey work flawlessly across countless devices, it felt like the future, a step forward that none of us were remotely ready for. It turns out that even Google itself wasn’t ready to roll out its ambitious vision, with the service set to shut down in 2023 as every piece of hardware and every digital purchase is redeemed.
Billions have been spent for nothing, and the notion that we once viewed Stadia as a creepy giant bound to swallow up the entire industry is too absurd in hindsight. The platform was dead on arrival, lacking in features along with a small library consisting of cloud ports that were mostly inferior to other platforms. Not to mention that it’s overpriced, as Google failed to acknowledge the fluidity of digital markets as it felt its own offerings were decades behind the curb. For the technology that claimed to herald the future, everything about it seemed outdated. Many expected it to be Netflix games, but it was just another digital marketplace.
While I don’t have exact numbers, Jason Schreyer from Bloomberg He said that millions for every The title has been spent porting the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin’s Creed, while also trying to acquire major studios but apparently couldn’t achieve much interest. The whole thing was an exorbitant cost, and this kind of approach is expected of a nascent technology trying to prove its worth. Google is arguably one of the few companies on the planet that has enough capital to take this kind of risk and survive the consequences. I can’t imagine it will take an interest in gaming again, at least not on this scale, and will instead use its cloud expertise to work with partners or leverage it through other parts of the business.
So far, I still can’t believe how much has gone wrong with Stadia, and we should do our best to take the right lessons from it. We were apprehensive about Google’s position on games as a business, but we should welcome the idea of game streaming because it allows many people to jump into the middle without needing an expensive console or consoles. However, even Stadia didn’t get it, and asked us to jump through several episodes until it launched.
Xbox Game Pass has allowed it to be released to cloud gaming because it is not seen as an essential part of its ecosystem. If anything its presence is tert. Being a member of a Subscription Service gives you access to stream any game from your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device using select touch controls or a Bluetooth pad. The freedom to experience the potential technology is there, and the fact that all of your purchases and progression move no matter where you play was the perfect setting that justified its existence. Stadia expected us all to start over, and approached this identity with such arrogance that most of us were happy to write it off completely. None of our friends, purchases, or personal investments were found in the company’s original journey into the clouds, and so we crossed them out. Change is scary, and Stadia has provided a lot of it without much justification. Like I said, it was doomed.
Gamers are creatures of judgment over others, but many of us feared that Google Stadia would offer lasting change to the status quo, and that having to embrace abandoning physical products and pursuing an entirely digital future was too much and too soon. We’ve spent the ensuing years making fun of it and inadvertently adopting a bias toward digital products that are becoming more and more popular. Maybe it’s a result of my work, but I can count the number of physical games I’ve bought in the last year on one hand, all the big gamers do a great job of emphasizing the benefits that come from getting rid of plastic cases and choosing virtual licenses they can remove at any moment.
It’s still grim, but unlike Google Stadia, this transition understands that users are won over by gradual succumbing rather than asking us to succumb to a change we’re not ready for. Global internet speeds are not ready for cloud gaming, nor the market nor our personal actions. There’s something forever separate about streaming games through the cloud that strips our sense of ownership, and in such a toxic hobby that so many form their identities around it, it’s easy to see why there’s no opportunity for it.
There is still a strong chance that cloud gaming will be the future, and when it finally comes we won’t be interested in stopping it; If anything, we will be conditioned to appreciate its presence and recognize the obvious benefits. Like digital purchases and service titles, its presence remains relatively inconspicuous and hostile, and having to break away from normalcy to sample, let alone appreciate, its capabilities meant Google Stadia was too early for its party to make an impact. It was also the result of arrogance and misunderstanding, and was marketed with an outdated attitude and a look at the medium who looked like a boomer trying to be racy with the kids. I was afraid of Stadia, and now I regret it.
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