Stadia started big with a dream to change the fate of gaming but fell within only three years of its journey. Google launched its heavily-funded cloud gaming platform, Stadia, on 19 November 2019. It had around 1.3 million users, which is way lower than what Google had in mind. And to keep up with the reputation of closing down platforms that do not instantly click, recently, the company announced that Stadia is going down on 18th January 2023. The company is going to refund the users who bought hardware, games, and add-ons from the platform by mid-January.
Despite being a tech giant and crowned with many high-end designers and developers, Google has failed to maintain the expected growth of Stadia. This platform was supposed to bring a revolution in gaming. It’s no news that a decent gaming experience is too far to reach for many aspirants because it requires costly hardware and an exuberant setting.
Stadia offers some excellent features to its users. The subscription cost of Stadia is around $10, which is far less than the price of a console along with other hardware. Cloud gaming was supposed to bring a ray of hope for people with an offer to experience gaming without needing to purchase physical hardware like graphics cards, monitors, and consoles as long as they have access to Google Chrome. Users can stream games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Cyberpunk 2077 that are titled AAA from the Stadia cloud service. The streaming resolution of Stadia is also very rich. Another attraction of Stadia is that it can be used through a mobile app. The platform allows base and pro subscriptions. With a base subscription, a user has to buy some high-end games but still can play free games. The pro subscription enables users to stream any game without purchasing them. Stadia also comes with a very top-notch controller for both PC and Mobile phone streaming.
All these were supposed to make Stadia a successful platform that connects gamers from all backgrounds. Yet why did it stumble?
Reasons Behind Its Downfall
The skepticism about the effectiveness of Stadia began before its launch. Google said that users would be able to start a game from a YouTube clip even though there was no sign of introducing it after the launch. The plans for the platform were very big and astonishing, without any doubt. Yet, the infamous trait of Google’s lacking commitment to its project was one of many reasons for insufficient expectations about Stadia.
Google closed down the in-house development facility of Stadia, which was focused on developing some in-built games for the platform in 2021, only after one year. All sorts of games require years to develop, and yet Google refused to investigate its way through making cloud gaming service more comfortable and exciting. The lack of care for Stadia from its founder company is the prime reason behind its fall.
Another widely agreed reason behind the fall of Stadia is its high-resolution streaming requirement. The platform comes with advanced technology, which is not fit for the time being, and this is one of the most crucial examples. Even many developed countries struggle to provide a 5G network and a stable fiber network. The minimum requirement for the network to stream on Stadia is 10MBps. One hour of streaming takes up to 13-15 GB of data. This higher quality also comes with a lag and hidden costs. So, without a doubt, the easier choice for users would be popular gaming consoles that guarantee quality gaming with standard resolution.
Stadia had a poor library of videos. The platform only offered core video games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Final Fantasy XV, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat 11, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Jedi: Fallen Order, and others. These gameplays require hours to complete with lavish missions and adventure. These games are suitable to play with a Console or PC. Stadia should have offered a rich library with a variety of games for the users.
The cost of development and maintenance was quite poor compared to the users and subscriptions of Google. Nvidia’s GeForce Now and Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming offer better gaming service to the users where they can make the best use of the hardware they already own. Stadia has focused so much on making a platform where users do not have to use hardware that it refuses to admit that familiarity with gadgets is an essential part of gaming. There are also complaints about the poor server stability of Stadia where users had to rely on it completely. These issues resulted in insufficient users for Stadia.
After the announcement of the Stadia shutdown, people have given mixed reactions on social media. While many claimed to have foreseen this day, others wished Google could try other ways to improve the situation. However, almost everyone lands on the same ground that the technology of Stadia could be the future of gaming. It could bring smiles to many users with proper modification to the system and the right way of marketing.
Stadia’s end is not necessarily the end for cloud gaming. Access to multiple cutting-edge games and easy use with limited hardware has always been a dream for many. Microsoft, Nvidia, and Amazon are pretty much committed to this technology, with long-term investments in research and development. And, people are clearly hopeful about their streaming service. Google is also willing to share its tech of Stadia with partners in an effort to let the good side of this platform survive.
Cloud gaming has many opportunities with more innovative additions in technology, including end computing and 5G network. The users can be free of the requirement of expensive hardware and go as they are to complete missions and journeys. With more concentration on solving marketing, logistics, public perception, and technical issues, cloud gaming can come to the rescue for gamers.