Archive for September 29, 2022

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Sunsetting Google Stadia

Google Stadia (3 months ago):

Stadia is not shutting down. Rest assured we’re always working on bringing more great games to the platform and Stadia Pro.

Jennifer Elias:

As Google tries to navigate an unfamiliar environment of slowing growth, cost-cutting and employee dissent over cultural changes, CEO Sundar Pichai is finding himself on the defensive.

At a companywide all-hands meeting this week, Pichai was faced with tough questions from employees related to cuts to travel and entertainment budgets, managing productivity, and potential layoffs, according to audio obtained by CNBC.

Phil Harrison (Hacker News):

A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia. And while Stadia’s approach to streaming games for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service.

We’re grateful to the dedicated Stadia players that have been with us from the start. We will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store. Players will continue to have access to their games library and play through January 18, 2023 so they can complete final play sessions.

Bruno Dias:

Stadia barely lived long enough that if you started making a game for Stadia just as the service launched you might, just might, have been able to ship just in time for it to exist for 2-3 months before the plug was pulled.

Google was like “we’re gonna have original content on this thing” then they shut it off before it lived long enough to see a typical game dev cycle

this was an entirely predictable outcome everyone saw coming from miles away

Mike Rose:

We have a game coming to Stadia in November.


To all the people who kept begging us “PLEASE BRING YOUR GAMES TO STADIA” — this is why we didn’t haha

Hours later and I still have no email from Stadia, and no clarity on what’s happening with our games, deals, anything

Really would have been nice if they’d told partners, or even got in contact with us by now?

See also: Killed by Google.


Update (2022-10-13): Juli Clover:

Players can access their games library and play through January 18, 2023, with Google expecting most refunds to be complete in mid-January. During the winding down process, some games may have gameplay issues, especially games requiring commerce, but the majority will “continue to work normally.”


Ahead of the shutdown, the Stadia store has been shuttered and all commerce on the Stadia platform, including in-game transactions, has ended.

SourceBytePublisher (via Hacker News):

We had the opportunity to work on a different game and build something different for 5 months, but we chose to make a Stadia port and learn all stuff.

We have spent a lot of money time and our nerves during.

I’m at a loss for words at the moment.

Aadit Doshi:

To be fair, Google Stadia faced terrible odds in the past 3 years, having to deal with:

  • a global pandemic forcing people to turn to online entertainment.
  • graphic cards and console shortages, creating high demand for alternatives.

See also: Manu Cornet.

Jason Howell:

Look, I do not want to have to say this about Google. But in light of the Stadia shutdown: Google has a BIG problem. Other companies kill things that don’t work, and it doesn’t become part of their identity quite like it has with Google. That’s brand poison.

And this is nothing new for Google. It happens again. And again. And again. It’s a meme for the brand and has been for a long time now. Even hardcore Google fans mistrust new products and services. Nothing feels safe.

John Gruber:

A lot of the speculation around Stadia was focused on the technology — streaming. But put that aside, and what to me has seemed clear all along is that Google was never particularly invested in making Stadia a serious platform. If you’re committed to the platform, the underlying technology doesn’t matter.

Nick Heer:

I feel bad for those working on the products unceremoniously canned by Google — or, indeed, any company. It sucks to see your hard work evaporate. But part of Google’s problem is its perpetual cycle of introducing new products, letting them linger as users and sometimes developers wonder whether they should commit, and then killing them when there is little uptake — see step two in the cycle.

Devin Coldewey (via Hacker News):

While it’s true that rivals like Geforce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming presented entrenched competition and that Google knows next to nothing about gaming, the main trouble — as with most of its products these days — is that no one trusted them to keep it alive longer than a year or two.

Kevin Purdy (via Slashdot):

Google is also leaving Stadia players with controllers that, while once costing $70, will soon do less than a $20 Bluetooth gamepad.


Stadia’s controllers were custom-made to connect directly to the Internet, reducing lag and allowing for instant firmware updates and (sometimes painful) connections to smart TVs.


Many have called for Google, if they’re not going to push a firmware update themselves to unlock the functionality, to open up access to the devices themselves, so the community can do it for them.

Peter Yang:

Google insiders explain why Google launches many products and then abandons them.

Hint: It has to do with chasing promotions. 🤦‍♂️


Microsoft Discontinuing SwiftKey for iOS

Emma Roth (via Tom Warren):

Microsoft confirmed that it’s removing SwiftKey from the Apple App Store and ending support for the iOS version of the keyboard app on October 5th.


The move to discontinue SwiftKey on iOS comes after months of user complaints that seemingly went unresolved. On top of that, users noticed that Microsoft hasn’t updated the SwiftKey app on iOS in over a year, prompting suspicion over whether the app had been quietly discontinued.


True reason: Apple API are not developer friendly anymore. Even for a mega corp.

Kosta Eleftheriou:

If you’re wondering why SwiftKey is being discontinued on iOS but not on Android, look no further than Apple’s absolutely, insanely terrible 3rd-party keyboard APIs.


Update (2022-10-07): Chris Turner:

Well this stinks. I much prefer SwiftKey over the built-in keyboard.

Michael Buss Andersen:

This hurts especially since the default Danish iOS keyboard does not have quick type, swiping or multi language support.

Rosyna Keller:

I am confused by Microsoft’s claim that “For those customers who have SwiftKey installed on iOS, it will continue to work until it is manually uninstalled or a user gets a new device.”

Users that have grabbed something previously can continue to download.

See also: MacRumors.

Check Your App IDs for Unused Capabilities

Jeff Johnson:

When I submitted the app to App Review, Apple silently added the game center entitlement to my app, even though the app didn’t have the entitlement when I submitted it. And then App Review rejected me for it!


While I was looking through my App IDs, I also found that the iOS version of StopTheMadness had the Push Notifications capability enabled. The app doesn’t use push notifications. So I’ve disabled that one too, in case App Review is looking for more rejection reasons.

I recommend that App Store developers go through your App IDs and disable any unused capabilities, otherwise you may be receiving unexpected rejections of your submissions.

This reminds me of the time my app kept getting rejected for crashing at launch, when that never happened on my Mac. After several months and a DTS incident, we eventually determined that a bug in App Store processing was removing an essential entitlement from the build that I had submitted before passing it along to App Review.

It’s true that when App Review identified an issue with my submission, I was given an opportunity to address the issue in my next submission, without having to fix it immediately. However, it’s false that my bug fixes were not delayed. I received the rejection email from App Review at midnight my time, after I had already gone to bed. I saw the email in the morning and replied to App Review, but then it took four more hours for my submission to go back into review. So there was a delay in approval of more than ten hours.


Update (2022-11-02): Jeff Johnson:

Closely inspecting the contents of the app bundle, I discovered a stale provisioning profile that still had the Game Center entitlement. The problem, though, is that Xcode is supposed to automatically manage the provisioning profile, so there didn’t appear to be any way for me to manually regenerate it.


You can drag the document proxy to reveal the location of the .provisionprofile file, which turns out to be in the ~/Library/MobileDevice/Provisioning Profiles/ folder. So all you have to do is quit Xcode and delete the file.

App Store Rules for NFT Apps

Aidan Ryan (tweet):

With NFT volumes tanking along with the broader crypto market, marketplace startups could use a boost from using mobile apps to sell their wares. So far, though, most see some obstacles, including the up to 30% commission Apple charges on in-app purchases, as well as pricing conventions that are difficult to apply to volatile digital assets.

The result is that NFT marketplaces don’t even think about selling through an app.

William Gallagher:

In the case of NFT trading between users, a typical marketplace takes just 2% to 3% of the transaction. Under Apple’s rules, companies would lose heavily on every deal.

However, it’s not just the commission that’s an issue. The Information says that a number of NFT firms have the issue that App Store in-app purchasing must be done in dollars, or another physically-backed currency. It does not accept cryptocurrency.

Since the cryptocurrency exchange rate varies enormously, developers can’t just set an equivalent in dollars.


Perhaps backing up that opinion is how Apple reportedly delays approving NFT and crypto apps for the App Store. According to Falin, it took several months to get the Rarible app onto the App Store, as compared to mere days for the Google Play Store.

Florian Mueller:

It’s actually an understatement to say that Apple collects “up to 30% of the transaction”: the app tax even exceeds 30% under certain circumstances, plus developers are increasingly forced to pay for Search Ads as Apple places ads even on individual app pages.

Jessica Lessin, The Information’s founder, asks a spot-on question: “Are there whole segments of the new economy that aren[’]t going through the App Store?”

The founder and CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, describes this as Apple “killing all NFT app businesses it can’t tax, crushing another nascent technology that could rival its grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.”