Report Sheds Light on Where Exactly Google Failed on Stadia

By Bill Toulas / February 27, 2021

At the start of the month, we reported that Google is shifting focus on the Stadia cloud gaming platform, shutting down the internal game development studios and seeking to partner with various third-parties to cover the gap. This rang many bells in the field, as Google is notorious for terminating costly projects, and many saw the beginning of the end of Stadia right there. Now, two new reports have surfaced and they are giving us more insight into the reasons that led Google to a spiral of bad decisions around Stadia.

First, a Bloomberg report allegedly based on Stadia sources, claims that the monthly active users and by extension the number of sold controllers, were hundreds of thousands off the mark. So, in other words, Google was expecting a very different introductory success for the platform, but apparently, people were too tentative and rightfully so. As proven almost immediately, the technology was over-hyped by Google prior to its launch and failed to live up to consumer expectations.

According to the same report, Stadia’s engineers pushed for an open beta period, but that idea was rejected. The strategy that prevailed was to launch Stadia like a gaming console, requiring $129 upfront for the controller and $10 per month in the form of a subscription to the service. This made users even more skeptical about jumping on the ship of a yet unproven platform, so it didn’t help with the initial formation of a community.

And this led to Google’s next big problem with Stadia, which is games development. Even though the tech giant threw in tens of millions of dollars to lure game developers, the incentive wasn’t enough to convince them, as the uptake just wasn’t there. Add the lack of the ability to transfer games owned on other platforms into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The second report, published on Wired, allegedly based on anonymous Stadia sources again, claims that Google forbid its internal game developing studio from using certain development tools and software. These sets were quite popular, powerful, and capable, so the limitations introduced considerable roadblocks for the developers. And finally, the same unofficial sources blame Google’s very slow hiring process, which just hindered the development team from bringing fresh talent aboard.

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