The fate of Google’s gaming service was already determined before its launch


Courtesy Photo

Stadia, which is Google’s first venture into gaming, launched on Nov. 19 and was not met with great responses. Prior to its release, gaming fans already voiced several concerns they had with the service.

Google released their newest project, the Stadia video game streaming service, to a less than positive reception on Nov. 19. After paying close attention to the development of Stadia leading up to its release, this wasn’t surprising.

From the beginning, there were concerns about whether the service would have proper support due to Google’s track record of killing projects, such as Touring Bird or Google Bulletin. To date, 184 services and pieces of hardware have been dropped by Google, according to Killed by Google, a website that keeps track of the projects the company has stopped supporting.

There’s also a legitimate concern about what will happen to your games if the service shuts down. It doesn’t help that Google themselves were incredibly evasive about the subject.

Google eventually updated their FAQ in June to say players will still be able to play their games if support for Stadia was cut, but the FAQ specifies “unforeseen circumstances” could change that for certain games. As “unforeseen circumstances” could mean a lot of things, the statement is still vague enough to be worrying.

Even if the threat of losing support wasn’t looming over Stadia, many of the claims about the performance of the service drew concern. In particular, Google Vice President of Engineering Madj Bakar claims that Stadia reaching high speeds by predicting inputs was worrying.

This method could easily lead to Stadia entering incorrect inputs. If it does this enough, it could ruin the player’s experience.

While the actual hardware for Stadia is significantly cheaper than its main competitors, what it offers is lacking in comparison to similar services. “Destiny 2,” for example, is the only game that comes free with the premium subscription, which is already free to play on all other platforms.

While Google has said they plan on having more games available for free in the future, customers currently have to pay full price for the rest. In this regard, it doesn’t have the value of streaming services like PlayStation Now and the Xbox Gamepass, which offer various games for free under a subscription fee.

The size of Stadia’s current library is also a problem, with only 22 games currently available. While Google has promised to add more, their catalog is still highly outnumbered by those of the PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch, each having built significant libraries over several years.

Now that Stadia has been released and the reviews are in, it has become apparent that many of these concerns and criticisms were valid. While it’s still up in the air whether Google will support the service in the long-term, for now, it’s hard to call the whole situation anything less than a disaster.