What happened to the original vision for google stadia games and entertainment and how did it change so quickly the story’s still ongoing so make sure to subscribe for the latest rumours swirled for years that Google was looking to get into the gaming space hell even Niantic creator of pokemon go was a google offshoot but nothing else ever materialized until February 2018.
When a report from the information revealed that Google was working on a streaming service with the code name
Yeti seemed to go on ice sorry for a few months until October 2018 when Google released a blog post
detailing the upcoming project stream it was a close technical test in partnership with Ubisoft where users could stream assassin’s creed odyssey to chrome browsers those who were selected were able to play the game for free until January 15th the following year as long as you had an internet connection that could hit 25 megabits per second you could play the game at 1080p 60 frames per second.
the tech test started on October 5th and by all accounts, people were pretty impressed with it in march 2019
Google held a keynote at the game developers conference in San Francisco where CEO Sundar Pichai took to the stage to reveal that the company had been experimenting with game streaming tech for the past two years and presented stadia to the world.
Welcome to stadia we are so excited by this (Sundar Pichai)
Phil Harrison who you might remember from the launch of the ps3 or the launch of the Xbox one came on stage to give the full pitch and what a pitch it was regardless of your feelings around cloud gaming the initial demonstration of a player going seamlessly from desktop to laptop to phone to tablet to tv was super impressive best of all there
were no big downloads and no expensive hardware removing barriers to entry for players was a key feature of stadia.
It had other neat features too like a built-in google assistant to help you get tips the ability to play with your favourite
creators using crowd play and share state which would let you share challenges with your friends its integration with youtube offered an easy way to quickly launch games as well as ways to upload your gameplay
Google promised that at launch games would be playable at 4k 60 frames
per second with hdr and surround sound it teased 8k for the future. But we also know the widespread adoption of 8k is inevitable for developers there was a whole other
the layer of intrigue.
Stadia was a platform that could solve development problems by utilizing google’s vast cloud
and networking infrastructure developers could create games in the cloud and google promised that a single stadia instance offered more teraflops than ps4 pro and Xbox one x combined. A perfect showcase to show the power of
stadia was doom eternal and while initially sceptical about the tech id software confirmed the doom
maternal would run at 4k 60 frames per second on stadia. Google teased a multiplayer experience
that was reliable and free of cheaters and hackers all running on google’s cloud it discussed the potential for machine learning and development and promised cross-platform multiplayer. and even saves Harrison then introduced jade Raymond formerly of Ubisoft and EA who had joined Google as the head of stadia games and entertainment.
The first-party studio dedicated to developing titles exclusively for the platform to going down the bold path
learning what is working best and sharing key tools and tech so that we can take games to the next level
together the way I see it there has never been a more exciting time to be a developer and stadia will be a driving force defining the future of games and entertainment.
Thank you! Reading this back now is genuinely pretty heartbreaking on the GDC show floor both assassins creed odyssey and doom 2016 were playable it wasn’t the ideal testbed for the tech but most press agreed that the games looked and ran great for the most part, but others noticed that doom had input lag when using a mouse and keyboard and I noticed immediately that you know my mouse wasn’t tracking 100 perfectly with the aiming reticle like it was laggy cutting ahead of the other e3 press conferences google held a stadia connect with pricing game reveals and its launch info on June 6, 2019, for the most part, it was a pretty okay conference it revealed Baldur’s gate 3 and stadia showed off the list of developers it had on board including Ubisoft ea 2k and rockstar
it showed off one stadia exclusive from tequila works called guilt.
Gamers were promised 4k gameplay if they had internet speeds of 35 megabits per second and 720p 60 frames per second if they had megabits per second it showed off the controller and detailed the stadia pro subscription service
which would give you a free game every month discounts and let you reserve your stadia name all for ten dollars a month there was also a service called stadia base which allowed you to just buy the games you wanted without a
subscription but they’d be kept at 1080p 60 frames per second but there were certainly cracks in the presentation
you had to own a pixel device to play stadia on your phone at launch to even play stadia in 2019 you had to
sign up for stadia pro stadia bass wouldn’t
becoming until 2020.
Google discussed the founder’s edition at length three months of pro for you
and a friend a controller and a Chromecast ultra none of which you really needed if
you had a decent internet connection chrome browser and a keyboard and mouse
and so the rumblings about the practicality of stadia began how much bandwidth would stream 4k
take in countries like us where data caps are more common was it feasible to use an eye-watering article from pc gamer at the time estimated that stadia would use one terabyte of data in 65 hours people joked about the
google graveyard a depressing website where you can check just how long google keeps its products around for others questioned why they would need to add yet another subscription on top of services like game pass ps plus and ps now all of which arguably offered better benefits and way more games than stadia did seemingly to address these criticisms.
Google held its second stadia connect live stream at Gamescom 2019 and pushed the titles that would be coming to the platform like cyberpunk 2077 watchdogs legion doom eternal elder scrolls online and mortal kombat 11. in October 2019 a month before launch stadia games and entertainment opened up its first studio in Montreal on the blog post celebrating the opening Jade Raymond wrote that the team would produce exclusive original content across a diverse portfolio of games in all your favourite genres founders editions sold out so google announced the stadia premiere edition that came with a Chromecast ultra a white controller three months of stadia pro and destiny 2 all for the same price, but with the caveat that it would arrive after the founder’s editions at launch in November 2019. Stadia had 22 games including metro exodus, destiny 2, final fantasy xv and red dead redemption 2. Reviews were mixed digital foundry discovered that games were rendered at sub 4k and then upscaled for 4k gameplay you’d
be looking at streaming up to 20 gigabytes of data per hour or just under 5 gigabytes for 720p if your internet dipped you’d be looking at frame skips and input lag some founders editions arrived late as noted by Kotaku
multiple features were missing or just not quite right the share button would upload your clips to the stadia app but you couldn’t download them from there stream connect wouldn’t launch for another month and crowd play wouldn’t even go into the beta for another year states are eventually stumbled out of the gate in January 2021 with the launch of Hitman 3 it’s still not widely used in other games while available on pixel phones and chrome browsers stadia like Xcloud and GeForce was missing on one key platform ios this was due to apple’s app store rules which stated that each game on the service needed to be individually submitted for review apple eventually overturned this policy and stadia became available in December 2020.
But you still had to access the service through a web browser in December 2019 google announced the
acquisition of typhoon studios an independent studio co-founded by Alex Hutchinson and reed Schneider who
between them had worked on titles such as assassin’s creed splinter cell and Arkham knight speaking
to games industry.biz jade Raymond said there are always pros and cons to acquisitions and i think when you find
the right culture and a really good fit like a typhoon is it’s a no-brainer but we take this very
seriously we want to build for the long term a whole strategy is a long term one to make the right
decisions in march 2020 a year after stadiu’s reveal.
Stadia games and entertainment opened a second studio in playa vista la helmed by Shannon Studstill the former
head of Sony Santa Monica google also started to offer free stadia pro trials for Chromecast ultra users
with the world descending into lockdown in April google offered stadia pro for free to new players and paused billing for existing owners for two months to try and help entertain people at home in June google knocked 30 off. The price of the premier bundle but dropped the three months of free stadia pro throughout the rest of the year google would continue to run promotions including giving free premier additions to youtube premium subscribers
as well as those who bought cyberpunk on the platform cyberpunk despite varying in performance on most other platforms ran pretty well on the stadium by the end of 2020 over 120 games were available and several features including family sharing and messaging had been added which brings us to February 2021 and the unexpected blog post from Phil Harrison revealing that stadia games and entertainment would be shutting down and that the future of stadia would be dedicated to its use as a platform citing the exponentially increasing costs of game development for the decision most of the rest of his blog post discusses shopping the streaming technology out to partners
but assured gamers that stadia games and stadia pro would still be around it’s not the first time this has happened
Nvidia did the same things with g-force and Gaikai became ps now as astutely pointed out by sean Hollister from the verge Harrison was on guy kai’s advisory board and jack beza head of stadia business development as head of ps now so it’s a strategy they’re both familiar with jade Raymond left google the same day and the studios in Montreal and la shuttered with 150 developers losing their jobs. Harrison said they were working on finding them new roles according to a report from steven totillo at Kotaku any game that had a release date beyond 2021 had been cancelled unlike Xbox or PlayStation we have no idea how many stadia subscribers there are because google has never released any figures the verge referred to cyberpunk on stadia as the platform’s make or break moment and it’s easy to see why the biggest game of the year had intense technical issues on every platform except stadia by offering a free Chromecast to everyone who purchased on stadia.
Google was getting in front of more eyes than ever but it seems like even cyberpunk wasn’t enough to move the
needle so as of 2021 does stadia still exist yes it does did it deliver on what it promised in some regards it did
but many of its most exciting features didn’t come to fruition in a meaningful way and the accessibility it touted came with numerous caveats but perhaps stadia’s biggest failure was in the promises it made to game developers it courted 150 people to come work for google and build games for stadia and shut it all down before they could even release anything this has been a pretty depressing News to make because the promise of stadia was so strong for
developers for the most part the streaming tech works and is being improved upon all the time if stadia’s new plan is to be this platform to deliver games straight to the players but never to deliver those astonishing games that could be made in the cloud is that going to be enough to pull people away from competing services we’ll see in the meantime, i’ll see you next time.