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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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108 comments
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dubigrasu 28 Nov, 2021
Quoting: Purple Library GuyHeh.
I don't think those are . . . mainstream hypotheses. Maybe a bit of mammal-centric wishful thinking.
Well, is not pseudo science either, is part of the still ongoing debate about what exactly drove them extinct, and it doesn't necessarily conflicts with the asteroid's impact drastic consequences. For example this one: https://www.pnas.org/content/113/18/5036

If this one or other theories on the subject have any merit, I don't know, and I bet there are counter arguments for each, but it does show that we're still digging and debating what and how it happened.

Quoting: scaineAnd 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.
Ah, I see. I now realize that I got your post a bit wrong. I get mildly annoyed when people just skim over my post, ignore the main point and start debating something else, and I did exactly that.
Apologies.
kokoko3k 28 Nov, 2021
Quoting: scaine
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.
Again, pay attention to the last part of my post :)
I'm NOT trying to convince anyone to throw away their gaming rig to save the planet (to be honest, i don't even care that much), nor i'm saying that the chip shortage will last for long.
BUT
in the hypothesis that it would last, or maybe if it will come back for a long time, for different reasons, then it will be a positive thing for thw earth.
whizse 28 Nov, 2021
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Now, admittedly I only skimmed the eleven pages of comments. But, asteroids hit the earth, wiping out the dominant species, 65 million years later it leads to the decline of Google Stadia streaming service?

Did I get that right? Did I miss something? Was John Titor at any point involved?
Anza 28 Nov, 2021
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: dubigrasuIn 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.

Getting bit side tracked, but what's actually funny is that at least Spotify technically is only kind of streaming as the caching is quite aggressive. Spotify actually downloads the songs and puts them in local cache on the device. That has benefit especially on mobile devices that have unreliable network connection, so even if you lose connection, at least the current song will keep playing. And that's the online mode. Offline mode is able to work without network even longer (I think it needs to connect to Spotify servers at some point just to verify the license).

I can't remember for sure (might have been on some of the consoles like PS5), but I think games might be able to support something similar. So you could start playing the game before it has downloaded completely. Combine that to losing all the games if you cancel your subscription and that's already quite close to how Spotify works.

If that's any indication, even if Stadia model doesn't work, some hybrid model might. After all, music streaming is convenient enough as you don't think about what to store on the device and pay for individual albums. You can just consume.
Eike 28 Nov, 2021
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Quoting: AnzaI can't remember for sure (might have been on some of the consoles like PS5), but I think games might be able to support something similar. So you could start playing the game before it has downloaded completely. Combine that to losing all the games if you cancel your subscription and that's already quite close to how Spotify works.

There is such a thing, and Steam at least thinks about it:
https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2021/09/new-patent-from-valve-appears-for-qinstant-playq-of-games-and-more/
Eike 28 Nov, 2021
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Quoting: Eikehttps://www.gamingonlinux.com/2021/09/new-patent-from-valve-appears-for-qinstant-playq-of-games-and-more/

Buy the way, Liam, this 'q' for '"' thing might be bad for SEO. Not sure.
Purple Library Guy 28 Nov, 2021
Quoting: whizseNow, admittedly I only skimmed the eleven pages of comments. But, asteroids hit the earth, wiping out the dominant species, 65 million years later it leads to the decline of Google Stadia streaming service?

Did I get that right? Did I miss something? Was John Titor at any point involved?
Yeah, that's pretty much it. And I mean, the Google Stadia streaming service wouldn't have declined (or existed) without that asteroid, so fair comment I think.
DebianUser 8 Dec, 2021
"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."

Publishers dont want to make ports for 1% marketshare, but they do it for Stadia, which is 0.00001%
(Ok Stadia is only ONE setup, but...)


Last edited by DebianUser on 9 December 2021 at 8:31 am UTC
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