Google Stadia game streaming service was one of the most awaited products before it launched. However, the service made a less than stellar debut with it being surrounded by controversies and lacklustre features. Users claimed that the service was not up to the mark and felt extremely limited when compared with Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming. The company finally seems to have given up on the service. It has now been made a part of the Google Cloud portfolio. Also Read - Nothing Phone (1) tipped to launch on July 21: Here’s what we know about it
While the company has not outright shut down the project, during the Google for Games Developer Summit it announced that the service will now be made available for sale as a Google Cloud service, and will now be called “Immersive Stream for Games.” Also Read - Google Street View turns 15: Here are top features coming to it
With this, Google is pivoting away from a customer-centric model as Google Cloud services aren’t consumer-facing. The company also confirmed that AT&T was one of the first to try out the service last year, when it launched Batman: Arkham Knight free for AT&T mobile subscribers. At the time, the game was only available on PCs and smartphone play was not enabled. However, during its keynote, AT&T revealed that it will soon enable the game’s playback on a smartphone. It also revealed that it is preparing to launch its next title soon. Also Read - Google Assistant will now help you secure your passwords on Chrome
At the time of launch, Stadia was never meant to be a part of the Google Cloud portfolio, instead, it was supposed to be a part of the standalone services. However, the service did not meet the company’s expectations and missed the sales estimates by a huge margin. Making it a part of Google Cloud Services for other businesses seems to be a backup plan. If this does not work out, it could mark the final blow to the service.
What happens to Stadia customers?
The company is yet to reveal what will happen to the existing customers of the service, and if it will continue to operate its consumer side of the business at a smaller scale or not.
Google giving up too soon
Google gave up too soon on its game streaming service dream. To recall, when Microsoft launched its Game Pass service, it was ridiculed for the same, but the company continued to persevere. Now, even though the service continues to lose money, it has become a market leader. No competitor is anywhere near to what the Xbox ecosystem has become. Even Sony is reportedly working on a similar service to counter Microsoft.
What could have been?
While Stadia landed with a thud, Google could have pulled up its socks tighter to make it into a market leader. The service since its launch has been plagued with a limited catalogue, deployment issues, and quality issues in terms of graphics. Moreover, the company did not even launch it globally, focussing on a very small market size (the service never arrived in India too). Since then developers have actively been abandoning the platform. Google also seemed to have sidelined the project, as it shut down its own game development studio.
Google could have put in some money by acquiring a few big games, and by launching the service globally. This would have given the public a steady release of games and slowly, many would have pivoted over to using the service. But to keep the customers, Google should have continued to improve the platform in aspects like graphics, latency and more.
Now that Stadia is a part of Google Cloud service, the company will double down on offering the tech to third-party developers and other companies to help stream their games to their customers, essentially becoming a service provider rather than a B2C business.
A lot of players are currently fighting for the lion’s share of the game streaming pie, and someday some company might dethrone Microsoft from the top spot, but it may not be Google.