Google Stadia: What could have been

Google's platform for streaming games, Google Stadia, was introduced in 2019 and, to date, its results do not seem to have met the expected expectations. Today we analyze why it is having such a hard time getting off the ground

Google is a giant in many respects and had been trying for years to enter the video game industry, which is growing tremendously. In 2018 it was leaked that the company was working on some kind of related app or project called Yeti, which later became Project Stream. Google launched a beta where you could just play 'Assassin's Creed: Odyssey', through Google Chrome, without having to download anything, with a very positive result

The first contact of the players with Google's streaming game service was a success. The game was played through the browser, without the need for other devices, taking advantage of the company's servers around the world. But, knowing that they were entering a field in which they had little experience, Google hired the best specialists to be able to offer a complete and satisfactory experience when the definitive project was launched

Google Stadia was officially presented in March 2019, along with a new studio that would be responsible for developing exclusives for the platform's catalog. They highlight the possibility of crossplay between devices although, it really did not depend entirely on the company, but also on its competitors

Stadia was officially launched in November of that same year, with a simple operation, but that could be one of the handicaps of the project: a subscription to be able to play online at a very good resolution, getting some titles for free and discounts on others, but having to purchase the video games separately. On the other hand, there is also a free membership to play in Stadia, but at a lower resolution

The way Stadia works implies that, with subscription or for free, you have to purchase the games separately and, in addition, at a higher price than other platforms, since the investment to adapt the titles to Stadia has been really big. In short, the subscription is basically to be able to play at a higher resolution, which leaves us with only one benefit of using the platform: not requiring another additional device, such as a console or PC to play and, although it is a full-fledged threat to companies like Sony and Microsoft, is this really a long-term benefit for gamers?

After its launch, the catalog of games was limited but, in addition, Stadia did not reach the level of quality that was promised, especially with more limited connections. Google's maneuver was to blame the studios responsible for the games in its catalog, which it felt had not been properly adapted to Stadia, but after a few months, gamers realized that the company was not offering a solution to the problem

Because Google did not seem to be prioritizing Stadia, nor its users, they began to worry because Google has shown on many occasions that it does not hesitate to close projects. Gamers wondered what would happen to the purchased games, as well as their subscription, if the project failed, another possible reason why Stadia did not take off, mistrust

The pandemic arrived and, with it, a dramatic increase in subscriptions to entertainment platforms. Google seized the opportunity and wanted to give Stadia a boost, offering free subscription for new players, which also led to an increase in its catalog of video games, which by the end of 2020 had more than a hundred titles, including 'Cyberpunk'.

Unfortunately, despite these opportunities, Stadia still failed to convince users and, the final blow came with the launch of the new generation of consoles, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series, at the end of 2020. We already know how the sales of these platforms skyrocketed, even reaching the stock shortage that, months after its launch, still lasts. And is that, the gaming experience offered by a streaming platform like Stadia, does not seem to be at the height of that of consoles and PC

In February 2021, last month, Google announced the closure of its video game studio and, this means that there will be no exclusive games for Stadia at least, for the time being. This is clearly another point against Google's platform and, right now, that's how things stand with Stadia

As a summary, we can say that streaming video games have great potential but, perhaps Stadia has not had an interesting enough strategy to seduce players. This is mainly because of having to purchase the video games in addition to the subscription, something that does not happen with other similar projects such as Microsoft Project X Cloud or Luna, Amazon's soon-to-be-released video game platform

In addition, the lack of transparency and feedback to users has not generated the necessary trust to create a relevant community of players and, added to the fact that the quality expectations have not been met to provide the promised gaming experience, it seems that Stadia could join the projects discarded by Google in a while, although we hope not

And you guys, what do you think? do you think Stadia has a chance to recover and become the platform we were all hoping for?

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