Why the Google Stadia failure is good news

Google finally ends the Stadia chapter. It was high time, says Daniel Herbig: The market for cloud gaming is evolving elsewhere.​

To avoid any misunderstandings: Google already sealed the fate of Stadia in February 2021, when the newly founded developer studio Stadia Games and Entertainment was dissolved. Since then, the sword of Damocles of the looming Google graveyard has hung over Stadia. Under these circumstances, players were rightly reluctant to put any more time and money into the cloud service. It’s nice that this uncertainty is now over. In the medium term, fans of Stadia will also benefit from this.

A comment by Daniel Herbig

Daniel Herbig reports on video games, consumer electronics and other gadgets on voonze online.

Google never dominated the market for cloud gaming, but it did dominate the discourse. As early as 2018, Google was the first major tech company in a long time to push ahead with cloud promises that not only picked up hardcore gamers, but also the mainstream: Gamble anytime, anywhere! Totally new types of video games! No more overpriced graphics cards!

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But Google got bogged down in the business model, couldn’t quite decide between a subscription and individual payments and finally combined both: If you wanted to give Stadia a chance, you first had to buy an expensive bundle at launch, then pay monthly later and also shell out for the individual games.

Today that sounds crazy, three years ago it was even worse. In 2019, cloud gaming was still fresh and powerful. So Google had the attention of an excited world public that really wanted to try out what gambling on the Internet actually feels like. And then the potential customers got such expensive hurdles thrown at their feet that finally hardly anyone dared to approach Stadia. Subsequent course corrections petered out and the hype was gone.

But that is exactly what is comforting at the inglorious end of the cloud service: Stadia’s failure is due to Google’s business failure, not technical inadequacies. Video game streaming works decently, but for many it remains a serious option.

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Live demo for the launch of Google Stadia

Stadia’s failure shouldn’t be taken as an omen for other offerings. Several alternatives have crept out of the shadow of Stadia, which have long been better, at least in terms of content. But for far too long, Stadia has been treated in public as if it were the spearhead of the market. That should finally be over now.

Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now show how to make cloud gaming better. In fundamental contrast to the Google model, both do not see themselves as a centralized platform. With GeForce Now, the games that you already own on Steam and Co. are simply streamed.

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And Xbox Cloud Gaming is linked as an extra to the Game Pass game subscription, the titles of which can also be played locally. Cloud gaming here is something casual that you can do when you’re on the road, for example, without any expensive liabilities. Both models are more elegant and customer-friendly than Google Stadia. That they are catching on is good news for fans of game streaming.

After all, saying goodbye to the Stadia platform unleashes the excellent technology behind it. Google actually wanted to lock them away behind their own subscription in order to establish another quasi-monopoly. Because the audience rejected this strategy, Stadia is now being maneuvered towards a white-label product.

At the latest when we stream our Steam, GoG and maybe even Nintendo games to our mobile phones and notebooks via server architecture from Google or other third-party providers in a few years, no one will mourn for Stadia as an independent platform. Without Google’s ego, cloud gaming will become a natural option in the years to come – really “everywhere”.

See also:

  • Overview of cloud gaming providers at voonze download


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