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Two years on, Stadia seems to have no direction left

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What initially seemed like a really promising idea, to give you gaming on any device and wherever you are has turned into something of a let-down overall.

This will no doubt get me some flak from Stadia stans, but let's keep in mind I was originally totally sold on the idea of Stadia. I have a Founders pack and I used it almost daily for quite some time. That time quickly lessened, and eventually became none at all. I can't imagine I am alone in that either.

At the two year point, what did Google do to celebrate Stadia? Close to nothing. On Reddit the Stadia team went over some numbers we already knew like the amount of games available and a few that added special Stadia features. There was also a sale on their store, along with a reasonable discount on the Stadia Premiere Edition (£19.99, down from £69.99), which you can easily put down to them wanting to get rid of stock since it comes with their older Chromecast Ultra. On the subject of the future, they only gave some vagueness:

  • Continuing feature experiments with the goal of making it easier for players to get into games and try Stadia for themselves. We’re still learning from input provided by our community and appreciate all the constructive feedback we receive from you!
  • Expanding all categories of games content - not just more games overall, but new types of games that we’ve heard players ask for, including genres like online action games, open world titles, plus free games, trials and demos.
  • Bringing Stadia to more devices and making it easier to access, purchase, and play games by yourself or with friends.

No player numbers, no sales numbers, absolutely no show of strength.

Barely any effort to mark two years, unless you count talking very briefly to six (yes, a whole six) customers who picked up the Founders pack. Really pushing the boat out there!

It's hard to be excited or even just a bit interested in a service that Google don't seem to know what to do with. It reportedly missed all their user goals by hundreds of thousands, and they shut down Stadia Games & Entertainment before even giving it any time in the spotlight at all. We were supposed to get first-party games that took advantage of the cloud, to do things you couldn't really do locally and we're likely to never see anything like that on Stadia.

The huge problem is that NVIDIA GeForce NOW and Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming both completely destroy it when it comes to price vs value. Even though GeForce NOW still feels a bit too disconnected, since it relies on whatever launchers games use and all the logins that come with it and Microsoft need to improve the latency / input quality of their offering, Stadia will basically never match up to either on overall value. You've also got Netflix expanding into cloud gaming, and Amazon with Luna. The sharks are circling and Stadia is bleeding in the middle.

When thinking on how Stadia operates, it just really doesn't make sense, especially now with the hot competition. Full price per-game to basically rent your games from Google, with an additional extra monthly sub on top to get 4K and access to a few games per month if you keep that subscription up, to completely disappear if they do shut down the consumer store side of things. When elsewhere you can either pay monthly to access your existing games (GeForce NOW), or pay monthly to access a big library (Xbox / Luna). At least with the other options, you either still have local access or you know you're paying for a more Netflix-like model.

Even Stadia as a service for bigger games has been left in the dust often, with some games leaving patches out for weeks and multiple games released locked to 30FPS. Even developers that are on it don't seem to care enough. Google don't even put Stadia at the front of anything they do, like how their newer Chromecast with Google TV took nearly a year to support Stadia.

Specifically when thinking about the Linux desktop, some original thoughts were that since Stadia was using Debian Linux and the Vulkan API, that we might see some cross-over of ports but that never really materialised either. The majority ended up just sticking to the Stadia ecosystem.

Where does Stadia go from here? Well, we already know they're marketing their tech as a white-label solution to studios outside of the Stadia Store, so that will likely pull in some companies but eventually I do expect the consumer side of Stadia itself to die-off.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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109 comments
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scaine 25 Nov, 2021
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Nah, most of what Arehandoro outlined is the norm. I guess the difference here is that some of those always-on servers won't be spinning up the big GPUs unless they're being used, but the servers definitely need to be always-on in order to deliver scalable performance to their customers.

I guess if we all gave up local PCs completely and just bought cheap-to-run Chromebooks, then possibly the ecological argument could be made for cloud gaming. But I didn't - I used my big PC with its big monitor to play Destiny 2 in the cloud for a few weeks on trial. So that is AT LEAST double the ecological impact, rather than delivering an ecological saving through scale.

To be honest though, this is like arguing about how much fuel an F1 race burns when Jumbo Jets are still flying 300 long haul flights daily - the F1 burns 20K litres of fuel over a weekend, while a single 747 long flight burns 200K litres. A single 747 long haul flight... source: [Williams]

There are just better fights to be had and complaining about the ecological impact of cloud gaming while shite like NFTs and Bitcoin mining farms are still a thing? It's just a distraction. Yes, better not to have them at all, fine. But no, not important in the grand scheme of the many, many far greater ecological disasters we face today.
Arcadius-8606 26 Nov, 2021
Quoting: EhvisMy solution to that problem: rotation. View stuff on one. Cancel, subscribe to the next and view there, cancel and so on until I'm back at number 1. Won't work for your sports stuff, but hey, if you want that, you're bound to get cheated.

Also, glass fibre internet now and cable tv: cancelled.

My solution is to just get internet and keep it moving. I can not get into any sub services outside of utilities. Netflix movies will eventually be available at the public library either offline in disc format or online using their own streaming service. I think too many sleep on what's available at their public library (if they have one).

YouTube is the juggernaut my family and I are looking for alternatives to. We use it with Ublock Origins and get all of my shows, movies and music streaming. A few of them are so good that we added them to our patreon list but none of the show streaming services offer what we are looking for. If they only offer a few shows or films we just wait til it comes to the library.
kokoko3k 26 Nov, 2021
Quoting: Arehandoro
Quoting: kokoko3kand on a side note this benefits environment too.

No, it doesn't. Cloud providers need to have their equipment constantly on, with redundancy, capacity for demand surges, UPS systems, industrial cooling... and all this replicated throughout all their data centres to cater audiences around the world.

It is not about critical data we speak of, but about gaming.
Game cloud providers don't need nor want to keep a server powered on if nobody will use it, it is not even possible to migrate on the fly a gaming session, so why wasting resources?

Everything you speak about is replicated by every guy with a gaming rig (ok, maybe not everyone has an ups), but cloud providers are more efficient than than the sum of their potential users, far more!
A (gaming) cloud provider serving 1000 users wastes way less resources than 1000 gaming rigs.

Also, you dont seem to consider that even producing less gpus is good for environment.

Ofc this wouldn't work if everybody would do cloud gaming by using an i20 and an rtx4090 as a client, but since we were speaking about chip shortage, a cheap low powered arm chromebook would be perfect.


Last edited by kokoko3k on 26 November 2021 at 10:58 pm UTC
scaine 27 Nov, 2021
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Quoting: kokoko3kA (gaming) cloud provider serving 1000 users wastes way less resources than 1000 gaming rigs.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this, for the reasons I've already outlined. Perhaps, as I've already suggested, if some dystopian law outlawed local devices and forced us all to use low-energy laptops/chromebooks for accessing our efficiently-built cloud-gaming services... then sure, yeah, maybe there's a saving to be had (assuming we brush the insane impact on the internet the table).

But real life doesn't work like that. And anyone who advocates for cloud gaming "because it's better for our environment" is just being disingenuous. Or naive.
kokoko3k 27 Nov, 2021
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: kokoko3kA (gaming) cloud provider serving 1000 users wastes way less resources than 1000 gaming rigs.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this, for the reasons I've already outlined. Perhaps, as I've already suggested, if some dystopian law outlawed local devices and forced us all to use low-energy laptops/chromebooks for accessing our efficiently-built cloud-gaming services... then sure, yeah, maybe there's a saving to be had (assuming we brush the insane impact on the internet the table).

But real life doesn't work like that. And anyone who dystopian for cloud gaming "because it's better for our environment" is just being disingenuous. Or naive.
Please, read the last part of my post.
Chip shortage is a bonus; if this will continue there would be no need for a dystopian law :)
Maybe, finally, we'll start working and thinking again on efficiency over wastefulness.
scaine 27 Nov, 2021
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Quoting: kokoko3k
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: kokoko3kA (gaming) cloud provider serving 1000 users wastes way less resources than 1000 gaming rigs.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this, for the reasons I've already outlined. Perhaps, as I've already suggested, if some dystopian law outlawed local devices and forced us all to use low-energy laptops/chromebooks for accessing our efficiently-built cloud-gaming services... then sure, yeah, maybe there's a saving to be had (assuming we brush the insane impact on the internet the table).

But real life doesn't work like that. And anyone who dystopian for cloud gaming "because it's better for our environment" is just being disingenuous. Or naive.
Please, read the last part of my post.
Chip shortage is a bonus; if this will continue there would be no need for a dystopian law :)
Maybe, finally, we'll start working and thinking again on efficiency over wastefulness.

I read the last part - it's naive and unrealistic to think that we (gamers) are all going to ditch rigs we've spent thousands of pounds on to game, instead, on a Chromebook.

Not to mention all the other drawbacks of cloud gaming (requirement for large bandwidth, always-on internet connection, lock-in to platform, game availability, lack of mods, and the fact that the service, itself, is a form of DRM).

Just, no. That won't happen. So there's no environment positive that comes out of this service.
dubigrasu 27 Nov, 2021
Not anytime soon, no.
But I think that unless there's a major shift in the way of how society and technology are advancing, eventually everything will move to the cloud, in some centralized form whether we like it or not.

Or maybe it will be something entirely new, who knows, we always like to predict the future based on on what we know about the present, and when the future comes, it comes in unexpected forms.

In any case, I don't think gaming as it stands today with local collections and expensive/bulky personal devices will survive for long. We are the last dinosaurs and we don't realize it yet.
Purple Library Guy 27 Nov, 2021
Quoting: dubigrasuNot anytime soon, no.
But I think that unless there's a major shift in the way of how society and technology are advancing, eventually everything will move to the cloud, in some centralized form whether we like it or not.

Or maybe it will be something entirely new, who knows, we always like to predict the future based on on what we know about the present, and when the future comes, it comes in unexpected forms.

In any case, I don't think gaming as it stands today with local collections and expensive/bulky personal devices will survive for long. We are the last dinosaurs and we don't realize it yet.
Eh. If an asteroid hadn't hit the planet, the dinosaurs would probably still be out-competing us mammals.
dubigrasu 27 Nov, 2021
^ :)
Well, they didn't died right away, was just that the world was no longer suited for them. There are theories that posit that they were already in the extinction phase long before the asteroid struck, event which only concluded their extinction.
I bet though that they still had some gaming time left.
scaine 27 Nov, 2021
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Quoting: dubigrasuNot anytime soon, no.
But I think that unless there's a major shift in the way of how society and technology are advancing, eventually everything will move to the cloud, in some centralized form whether we like it or not.

Or maybe it will be something entirely new, who knows, we always like to predict the future based on on what we know about the present, and when the future comes, it comes in unexpected forms.

In any case, I don't think gaming as it stands today with local collections and expensive/bulky personal devices will survive for long. We are the last dinosaurs and we don't realize it yet.

Can't say I entirely disagree. I thought much the same about music streaming when it first landed, but I'm bought into that. But it succeeded for reasons that don't apply to cloud gaming.

And in any case, my main point is really just that trying to convince people that cloud gaming is saving the planet is completely deluded. It might succeed for other reasons, but everyone ditching their gaming rigs to play cloud-based games on chromebooks? This ain't it, chief.
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