Thursday, September 29, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

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.

Previously:

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. 🤦‍♂️

Previously:

5 Comments

Honestly, to me, this is one of the wildest example of how you can completely destroy an amazing product with a terrible business model. When Google initially announced Stadia, gamers were freaking out, thinking that this would inevitably end up with Google as the fourth major player in console gaming. As soon as people heard how the service was monetized, this immediately completely switched to everybody outside of Google correctly predicting that the whole thing was dead on arrival.

The technology works perfectly fine, it's incredibly convenient, it makes sense for a lot of people, particularly now, with chip prices going up, but Google somehow managed to completely burn this anyway. It blows my mind that nobody at Google was like, wait, before we launch this, do we really think the way we're asking people to pay for this is going to work?

Add to that the "this will enable new kinds of games that aren't possible on traditional set ups. Wait until you see what our in-house studio is working on."

"We've closed our in-house studio."

*tumbleweed*

I remember reading a few pieces on how Stadia was basically the only way you could play Cyberpunk 2077 at launch that was both reasonably priced, and not a janky mess. Stadia had some things going for it. Just feels like they shoved it out the door way too early.

Google might be the first example of an entire company suffering from ADHD. They launch a product with great fanfare, and then a new shiny thing comes along and they drop the old thing completely. This is, of course, entirely due to the asinine bonus and promotion structure they have created for their employees, where you're only rewarded for working on a new thing rather than improving and sustaining an old thing.

Google graveyard is growing again.
It's so hard to trust Google with any of their new initiatives. Does not matter how fiercely the push or promote it, chances are it's going to be killed soon, with relatively short notice and all the time and resources spent on it will be a total waste.

This just once again proves that if you partner with Google on anything unrelated to search or advertising you are going to get screwed.

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