Is Google Stadia Dying? Will It Rule Cloud Gaming?

People contemplating the death of Google Stadia is nothing new. It's been happening ever since the service launched in late 2019.

Sushant Rohan Singh
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Google Stadia

People contemplating the death of Google Stadia is nothing new. It's been happening ever since the service launched in late 2019 and it's entirely understandable. Google has a track record of mercilessly killing services that fail to reach critical mass even if they have an active and enthusiastic fan base. There's a reason is a thing. If you ever wonder why people are skeptical about the company's long-term dedication to cloud gaming then just take a look at the many promising apps and services left to rot in the Google graveyard.


Stadia in late 2019 launching with an anemic collection of titles and missing a bunch of features bore all the hallmarks of a Google product that might not have a lot of staying power. The latest round of speculation has followed the first major downsizing of Google Stadia ambitions with a shutting of Stadia Games and Entertainment. That was the division tasked with making compelling exclusive first party titles for Stadia led by veteran developer and producer Jade Raymond. The shuttering of these first party studios is undoubtedly a huge loss.

Back around launch time they were held as a major strength for the service in the future. AAA's developers working to produce games specifically for the cloud with the chance of unique cloud-powered gaming experiences that wouldn't be possible on a console or even a high-end PC. Here's the thing though AAA titles are expensive to make and take a long time to come to fruition. We're talking typically three or four years here so Stadia Games and Entertainment was seen as a statement of confidence in the platform's future. Given that people have been speculating about Stadia's closure for as long as it's existed it's easy to look at this news and or the conclusion that Stadia is living on borrowed time.

In a blog post Stadia's boss Phil Harrison formerly of Microsoft and Sony said Google would be expanding its efforts to help developers and publishers take advantage of the Stadia platform technology and deliver games directly to their players. That's a pretty big 180 from focusing on homegrown big budget Stadia only titles and points towards Google redirecting resources that it was going to spend on SG&E.

In the short term if you think about it that's not such a bad move. Although Stadia picked up a lot of big name titles in 2020 like cyberpunk, doom eternal, and the hitman series along with the likes of FIFA coming soon. The selection right now is still pretty scant compared to a traditional console. So if Stadia is under pressure from Google to earn your keep for the next two to three years you're probably better off spending your resources courting existing big publishers and making sure Stadia doesn't miss out on important major releases in the short to midterm. Basically trading first party exclusives much later for second party parity.

The counterpoint to that is a company like Google and an industry veteran like Phil Harrison should have been able to see this situation coming in 2019. If they had they wouldn't now be in the position of laying off large numbers of talented developers having already burned money for more than a year making games that'll never see the light of day. As a result some pretty smart people are now calling time on the service.

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