TECH & GAMING
What has happened to Google Stadia?
Words by Nathan Irvine
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Google Stadia is dead. Well, it's as close as it can be to being resigned to the great scrap heap in the sky.
In a recent blog post, Vice President and GM of Google Stadia, Phil Harrison confirmed that the in-house game development teams of its video game streaming device were to close. This, Harrison says, is to "focus Stadia's future on streaming third-party games."
In layperson terms, this means that Google Stadia will no longer have any exclusive titles. It also means it will have to rely on existing development teams to make games specifically for the device. This is unlikely.
So what has brought Google Stadia to this point, and what does the future hold? Let's take a look...
Google intended to make blockbuster games. It acquired talented developers from such games as Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed in an effort to fast-track success. And rightly so. But these things take time, especially when creating a new game from scratch. And it appears Google ran out of patience waiting for the team to strike gold, hence why 150+ developers from two studios are looking for a new job. One anonymous developer told video game website Kotaku that "Google was a terrible place to make games". Ouch.
Without any physical media to plug in and play, Google Stadia relies entirely on fast internet speeds to play games. It's no great secret that even the most developed countries still don't have access to flawless networks, so you can understand why consumers are skeptical about signing up for Google Stadia. Especially when you consider that the current and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation has a similar streaming service as a side hustle to disc-based games.
There are infinitely more PlayStations, Xboxes, Nintendos and PCs in gamers' homes than there are Google Stadias. And the amount of time it takes the likes of EA or Rockstar Games to develop games for the majority is counted in years. Optimisation for struggling platform such as Stadia just isn't a good use of their time, and Google relying solely on these developers to create games for it is risky at best. Unless Google plans to throw sacks of cash at these developers, it's unlikely these top games will make it onto Stadia.
If you haven't been keeping track, this is just another footnote in Google Stadia's tortured history. Firstly, it suffered critical backlash for feeling like it was rushed to market with many of its key selling points, like 4K streaming, sadly missing. It felt fans ire for only launching in a select number of countries - skipping the Middle East in its entirety. And just seven months into its life it received a massive discount on the original price - the death knell for any piece of high-end tech. Now with little reason to get a Google Stadia over any other machine, it looks as though Google's great white hope in the games industry is over.
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