Google has confirmed that they’re pulling a lot of money out of Stadia this year. While they’re not shutting down the service, they are shutting down their in-house studios that were making exclusives for it. These developers were poised to release games that wouldn’t only be available on Stadia, but now Google is heading in a different direction. They’re offering the technology they have in Stadia up to third-party developers. What for I’m not exactly sure, but Bungie has been using it to help with the development of Destiny 2 remotely, so I think it is a genuinely useful service. But the exclusive games were never the thing that was going to sell this streaming service to consumers.
It seems like the higher-ups at Google had the wrong idea about Stadia from the beginning. I’ve seen all their news about exclusives over the years, but no one is bothered. Their first few weren’t even that good. Instead, Stadia will live and die depending on how useful it is as a streaming service. I’d say it’s probably one of the better ones out there. I can use it to play games pretty much anywhere, and the same can’t be said of most other competing services.
That’s where Stadia’s future lies. Not in exclusive titles you can’t play or stream anywhere else, but in the ability to play a triple-A game on your phone in the middle of nowhere. Right now Google has an opportunity to double-down on developing its streaming technology. If they can make it work on as little signal for a smartphone as possible, they’ll corner the streaming market. I firmly believe that this is the direction they need to push in, but I don’t think they will.
It looks to me like Google has tried with Stadia, and now it’s going to let it die. Stadia will flounder for a few years offering technology to help developers work from home on stream builds of their games, but ultimately it won’t work. Google should reinvest their development money in streaming technology. Stadia is right when they state that streaming is the future, they just need the money and the technology to be the one at the front of that generation of gaming.