Report Tries to Explain Google Stadia Failure

Posted on March 2, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google Stadia with 12 Comments

Google’s Stadia was always going to fail, but a new report claims that the issue isn’t missing features or a tiny game library. It’s Google.

“We spoke with game developers and publishers who said there are two main reasons their games aren’t on Stadia,” a new report in Business Insider notes. “Google didn’t offer them enough money, and they don’t trust the mercurial company to stick with gaming in the long term.” readers will know that this mirrors an opinion piece I wrote back in November, when Microsoft’s Project xCloud finally appeared in preview form and was immediately better than anything Google could offer. The reason? Microsoft has a long-established relationship with the gaming industry and understands that market. Google does not.

And the BI report puts some data to that theory, noting that, while Google plans to improve the selection of games this year, it doesn’t feature any blockbusters titles from the independent game developers that pad out the libraries on PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.

“We were approached by the Stadia team,” one indie developer told the publication, sounding a theme that was apparently repeated by other sources. “Usually with that kind of thing, they lead with some kind of offer that would give you an incentive to go with them. [But the incentive] was kind of non-existent. That’s the short of it.”

The issue, really, is that Google didn’t offer enough money to warrant investing in a new platform. “There isn’t enough money there,” one source said. Google’s offer was “so low that it wasn’t even part of the conversation.”

There are other concerns with Stadia, of course, and Google’s inability to stick with products and services over the long haul is one of them. “Could see yourself getting into a long-term relationship with Google?” one developer asked, rhetorically. “With Google’s history, I don’t even know if they’re working on Stadia in a year. That wouldn’t be something crazy that Google does. It’s within their track record.”

My perspective on Stadia hasn’t changed since November: Google doesn’t just not offer developers enough incentive to take a chance on the service, it doesn’t offer gamers enough incentive. And until or unless that changes, I’ll continue giving it a pass.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Report Tries to Explain Google Stadia Failure”

  1. madthinus

    Trust in your potential business partner, who would have thought that is important.

  2. Jippa Wip

    Is there a link to the original article?

  3. Daekar

    To be honest, this makes me happy. I don't trust Google to handle something I care about as much as games.

  4. red77star

    No gaming streaming cloud service has future. Stick with Console or PC for that.

  5. proesterchen

    Someone needs to buy Electronic Arts.

    Someone will buy Electronic Arts.

  6. datameister

    I think if Google had done like nVidia and linked or cross licensed the games with another platform like Xbox, PlayStation, or PC (Steam, Epic, Microsoft) they could have alleviate the fears of people wondering if Google would drop the service in 4-5 years. MoviesAnywhere made all the difference for trust in digital movies for the studios involved.

    Cloud vendors are like a rentable game system and if they don't have an offline physical hardware option, they need to partner up with an existing one. Especially Google with their longevity track record.

    • luthair

      In reply to DataMeister:

      I think this is a common mistake in the tech press (and some of Google's messaging & go to market strategy), the market today for streaming services isn't a current console or PC gamer - early days of the technology just won't beat local hardware.

      The market IMO are lapsed gamers who didn't buy the next console but hear a lot about game X from their buddies, and also economically disadvantaged who might be able to afford a game but can't swing a hardware.

  7. codymesh

    yeah, google has been caught up in their own technological hubris they seemed to have forgotten the content side of the equation

  8. pikkebaas

    Is there going to be a follow up on this article? It's aging really poorly and it's clickbaityness is constantly showing up on my feed.

    As far as I know there are 3 million happy stadia users at the moment, all being very happy about it.