On September 30, 2022, Google announced it would shut down its cloud game-streaming service, Stadia. The service was supposed to let users play games on various platforms. But now, there has been a lot of chatter about this “surprise” shutdown, whereas rivals like “Xbox Cloud Gaming” and “Geforce Now” have no trouble attracting new users worldwide.
Google is losing its shine
The main trouble with Google these days is that no one trusts the company to keep any of its products alive longer than, at most, two years. People are currently hesitant to invest in even the company’s most popular products because it has demonstrated on several occasions a poor understanding of what people want, need, and will pay for.
The technical implementation certainly wasn’t to blame, as Stadia was almost magical in how it delivered on the promise of getting from zero to in-game in one second and was, at its best, superior to its rivals.
The business has never been more inspiring
The widely mocked Stadia pre-launch hype exhibit is now well remembered. It featured the doomed Dreamcast, the meaningless Power Glove, and E.T. for Atari, a game so awful that it was buried in a shallow grave, followed by an empty pedestal on which Stadia would soon be installed. It’s obvious this was a hilarious misunderstanding of just about everything, but it turned out to be quite apropos.
Misinformation via Stadia’s Twitter Account
Stadia’s Twitter account assured a concerned user two months ago that the service was not shutting down:
Stadia is not shutting down. Rest assured we're always working on bringing more great games to the platform and Stadia Pro. Let us know if you have other questions.— Stadia ☁️🎮 (@GoogleStadia) July 29, 2022
Stadia made its end-of-service announcement two months after this tweet. This suggests that the closure wheels were already set in motion. However, the senior management simply hadn’t informed their social media handlers, developers, and several other important parties of its decision to shut down the service. Many users connected to the program were reportedly surprised by the decision.
There were early signs of a possible closure
Some people already saw the writing was on the wall earlier, when the first-party development team formed by Google to create exclusive games was disbanded before it had a chance to do anything. It’s possible that the business underestimated how long it takes to develop a game from scratch. This could be a sign that Google has very little game knowledge or just didn’t realize how difficult producing a new game would be.
The closure news was a shocker to Tom Vian, a game developer who was planning to release a game titled “Tangle Tower’ two days after Stadia announced the end of service, he tweeted:
Tangle Tower was due to launch on Stadia in 2 days time, and this article was the first I heard about it shutting down 😢 https://t.co/Pu0UPTQlRn— Tom Vian (@SFBTom) September 29, 2022
Google refunding players
According to Paul Tassi, a reporter at the economic newspaper Forbes, “It seems like a smart move that Stadia is refunding players, but the closure decision should have been discussed in advance with game developers.”
TechCrunch explained that Google might have succeeded if it still developed a competitive product. Unfortunately, Stadia was not that kind of service. It was unclear who Stadia was for, as most gamers who want to play the hottest new games like “Deathloop” already own a gaming PC, a console, or both.
“Why would any game player choose Stadia over Steam or PS5 to purchase Deathloop? Deathloop looks better on PS5 or PC than on Stadia, even though Google has already invested a lot into its platform.
Free-to-play games like Genshin Impact may also be played on smartphones and home consoles. In fact, millions of players actually play the mobile version. Again, why was Stadia a better deal?”
It might have made sense if a proposal had said, “Pay $20 a month, and Google’s magic will let you play games wherever you want on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC,” he said. It emphasizes the lack of a compelling argument to purchase the game.
Google’s termination habit
Google’s legacy of killing products is infamous. Google has already canceled a number of its services and initiatives. Everyone now understands that Google cannot be trusted with anything outside of its core services. The company occasionally screws up those core services due to its constant shifting of priorities, branding, standards, and everything else.
TechCrunch pointed out, “When you think about Google’s propensity to terminate its services, those who would pay hundreds of dollars would rather decide not to, except for Google’s main services. They are now conscious of the fact that nothing, but Google’s core services can be trusted.”
“I still have my original Super Nintendo, which plays as well as it did the day I brought it home. My Super Metroid and Mario Kart cartridges have been working for about years now. I can play games I bought a decade ago on Steam as easily as I did back then. These services and companies earned customers’ trust over many years by demonstrating that they can’t or won’t take advantage of them,” explained TechCrunch.
Overall, the name Stadia has been added to the website “Google Graveyard, “which summarizes the services and projects that Google has completed.
Google is losing its shine
Stadia could never have truly been a success, is what many industry experts believe. Its entire design was probably doomed from the start to fail. But if the core is solid and has a sizable, engaged audience, even a long shot may be transformed into a profitable product with a few pivots. For Stadia, it was never, ever going to be the situation. Google has built a strong case against itself that no community will ever truly trust it again, whether its creators on YouTube, coders, scientists on Colab, or media and advertisers on Google search.
Featured image credit: Stadia-controller-and-Chromecast-Ultra-from-Premiere-Edition by Y2kcrazyjoker4 under CC BY-SA 4.0