A new report from Jason Schreier at Bloomberg has shed some light on the issues that Google faced bringing their Stadia streaming console into the mainstream and the absurd amount of money that they spent.
Money spent on third party content
Google was desperate to secure third-party developers and games for their new system. You can’t have a console without games. According to the report:
“His team wooed big-name publishers like Ubisoft and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., shelling out tens of millions of dollars to get games like Red Dead Redemption II on Stadia, according to two people familiar with the deals. The amount of money Google was willing to spend came as a shock to veteran game developers, but even that wasn’t enough.”
The team at Google were paying major developers the equivalent of AAA game development budgets just to distribute their titles on the platform. They were desperate.
Issues with the platform
Fans were already up in arms about the perceived and often realised issues with the platform way back in the beginning of 2020. By then the player base had already been cut in half and many of the promised features, games, and open attitude were missing.
In early February of 2021, Google Stadia pulled the plug on Stadia Games and Entertainment. This was the in-house studio that was responsible for making exclusive titles that showed off the full potential and promised features of the streaming service.
Without these exclusive games, Google will never be able to fit in with the titans of the gaming industry. Who wants to pay $60 for a streaming-only version of a game that can be played better on nearly every other gaming platform out there?
Tweets from Schrier
In a series of tweets, Schrier wrote:
Pay $20 million to Ubisoft to port Assassin's Creed and The Division
Pay $1 million to 20 small developers to each build something cool, betting that at least one of them will be a hit like Stardew Valley or Valheim
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) February 26, 2021
Another failure from Google
This is just another one of the many projects that Google has abandoned over the years. There are already many other game streaming services out there, but they remain niche products for users that can afford the internet speeds and technology needed to make it viable.
This sort of platform would never be adopted by the most hardcore members of the gaming scene. Esports veterans need the quick response time of in-person gaming to play at the top of their game. The pandemic has shown that even playing online with high-speed internet is not as good as in-person offline gaming. The lag and slow response time generated by streaming the game from a server could make certain games unplayable in the competitive arena.