Stadia - Google's vision for the future of gaming

Now when I hear that “This is THE FUTURE” it files in the portion of my brain that deals with every other console claiming to be the future of gaming - cute thought but my past is this Steam backlog (and friends), good luck winning.

Now I realise that this mostly means there’s just one more platform for poor developers to support. All the consoles, PC (times XXXX stores) , Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and now Stadia and xCloud… Maybe it’s a secret dream to be an exclusive, it means less platforms to support…

FWIW, the original article didn’t say they were fired/laid off/whatever. They closed the studio down but they were trying to find new roles in Google for them. This is pretty normal for a lot of these tech companies (same happened at Microsoft when they shut down Beam for instance). So they are still getting paid by Google, but they have a period of time to find a new role within google or external before they will be let out.

Yeah, it’s a bit confusing but even after the closure of the dev studios there’s still a couple hundred engineers working on Stadia full time. That side made up maybe 20% of the overall heads on the platform.

The issue is that Google, both fairly and unfairly, already lost consumer confidence with their little to no consumer support and how many services it closes. Selling a product which may have a short shelf life with varying advantages and disadvantages with no guarantees of longevity is only going to appeal to those who don’t care and also aren’t affected by the downsides, which it turns out, isn’t a lot of people.
Keeping things vague to not go over the same things again, whether we agree or disagree with the specifics of why it’s not a good value proposition in general, the market has said this particular one isn’t. We will need more offers to conclude definitively on why.

Regarding private servers, that was in the context of Stadia where it really doesn’t even apply as everything is in a datacenter somewhere.

Streaming is clearly the future for mainstream gaming. This will happen. That doesn’t mean all enthusiasts will switch, many won’t. I know I certainly won’t until it’s comparable to my high-end gaming PC, meaning high resolutions, refresh rates, and image quality. And that may happen eventually, but the experience will never measure up, latency is unavoidable, it’s the speed of light.

Again I said streaming is the future, not Stadia. Stadia is dogshit, that was clear from its launch.

Well, from my understanding the tech behind Stadia works really well. They just picked an awful model to launch this thing with. No one wants to pay full price for games that they can only stream on an unproven store like Stadia. If they had done a subscription service like Gamepass they would probably be in a lot better shape right now.

Yeah it works fine. Streaming videogames isn’t all that hard. There are a bunch of companies doing it now, many of them aren’t backed by big money or tech genius. You can even do it yourself with Parsec or Rainway; people are renting VMs on Azure or whatever and streaming games from there.

Of course comparing to Game Pass at $4.19/month, well that’s hard to beat.

So Stadia but not Stadia. Again, doubtful, pretty sure mainstream is the millions of free games people play on their phone, and they really care if they have 60fps on some actoin FPS that isn’t on their application storefront.

Shall we review that the game market looks like.

Which of these requires a device mainstream doesn’t already have? Oh yeah… not the biggest one. And you don’t have to worry about quality either. Just 99 center the app and bam.

That diagram is exactly why game streaming will be huge and there are so many companies are going after it. You are basically taking the huge market that is Mobile and giving them access to games that used to require a PC or Console.

There’s not much crossover between Candy Crush and GTA V.

No? So everyone that plays mobile games exclusively plays mobile, and vice versa?

Yes. It is known.

What I’ve seen (and I’ve only dipped a little into this) - the mobile games market isn’t comprised of low res, touch optimised versions of regular games. That big slice is a whole set of unique subgenres - just like there were “western RPGs”, “jRPGs” there’s now “mobile RPGs” where expectations are things like 5-10 minute chapters, maybe lots of party members by gacha mechanics. Candy Crush/Angry Birds “mini puzzle” games that are like hundreds of levels of one-screen puzzles - almost unheard of for a bigger console, but there’s tons of these that are closer to Sudoku than Portal. There must be some better analysis…

Oooh…maybe the best analogy would be mobile games are like short Youtube videos, vs PC/console games being 90 minute movies. Hmmm although if I think like that, I do see how Stadia and streaming could win - but the issue isn’t the tech. It’s the content. If Epic went all-in on streaming for all the Epic Game Store games, would that have been enough? Or do you need to go even bigger? If Google went… Stadia for Android XX?

Sure, sure when you try and charge them 60 dollars or so for a high budget game when there is non-stop bitching about 4.99 of games that were made decades ago… what could go wrong.

But hey i am sure there are folks that will invest in spotty streaming services with marketing teams that still think they’re catering to single guys in the 90s trying to sell 70 dollar games that can’t be modded nor played on private servers all while wondering why the next cool thing is like a 99 center or just flat up F2P virile thing someone spent a year making in a garage with three other people. It’s a sure thing. Robinhood will help you get there.

No, I think you are going to have a hard time getting people to pay $30-60 for games that can only be played via a streaming service. That is why Stadia failed. Where I think there is a market is in what Gamepass and Geforce Now are doing. I think people would be willing to pay a monthly fee for a library of streamable games (gamepass) or would be willing to pay for a streaming service that let’s me play PC games I’ve purchased (Geforce Now) so I can play on a low end PC or on a smart TV.

This would mean you still have the other device, but yes I can see how that would work. That “future” of gaming though, isn’t replacing the hardware people are gaming on now; instead it would be adding streaming as service, a complimentary service, and not a replacement… aka, future of gaming is not going all streaming.

Actually, this made me think about my music collection, which has become a hodge-podge of CDs (ripped to MP3s and FLAC), iTunes purchases, Google Music freebies now ported over to Youtube Music I think and Spotify playlists. Video I haven’t even bothered to rip DVDs yet so I actually bought an external physical drive to play my hard copies, plus mostly Movies Anywhere but also freebies from Microsoft Store, and Netflix/Amazon Prime/etc subs. And both of these medias have been around and are quite a bit more mature than the cloud gaming service, from that I should expect that if cloud gaming survives it will just be yet another platform. So for Stadia the question is if it’ll survive to take a piece of the pie, but I don’t see streaming as anywhere close to the endgame (edit) given how it went for everything else. Cue that xkcd comic where you invent a new standard to replace the old standards, and you’re left with n+1 standards…

I will think it will be kind of cute if they start offering “offline gaming” options, which is a pretty important use case for all my other streaming media when traveling when you aren’t always on the Internet.

Google made almost what, 57 billion dollars last year and they don’t even want to support this. Stadia is pretty much dead. I think the more interesting thing left for it is if there are any salvageable ideas from it.

Music is quite different. I realize there are audophiles that consume that art form in a very different way from most mainstream individuals, but for mainstream, it’s a 3 minute or so experience that isn’t really customized in anyway. Steaming gave us the ability to customize where and what we listen to, often in what order, so we’re not all playing 30 dollars for CDs that had one or two tracks we liked that were burned off onto mixed experiences for the experience we actually want. TV is the same way only longer, with the visual premium… people (?) buying their 100" 8k TVs and UHD files or discs, but largely it is also a static experience with the location, device and order all sort of organized by the service or applications you use.

Gaming is still an entertainment medium, but the experience can be literally different from player to player. We’re not just talking about content decisions made by publishers and developers, but third party modifications that are sometimes supported by the first party group, even encouraged, and sometimes now. In addition, you have benchmarksers who chase the wave and pay huge premiums so the rest of us don’t have to when those pieces get back to orbit and those who are fine just getting a rig up and playing whatever their system can support. There is a this big group in-between those two, and then we have overlapping and separate platforms all while having these groups over what exactly mainstream means and what experiences are acceptable and which aren’t.

Now can steaming exist within this hodgepodge of different consumers, sure it can, but it’s not as simple as trying to take a 3 minute piece of art, offering it in like a half dozen mediums in 100s of different services

So when someone struts out to the front and say this, this is the future of gaming, you have to wonder, who the heck are they speaking for? The gamers. There is no the gamers, there has never been. There’s just one arrogant group that continues to believe and often demand they get serviced as the one and only TRUE gamers… except. We’re all gamers, we’re all experiencing different offerings in different ways with different set-up and different needs.

So yeah, do I think some sort of streaming is going to have a spot in the future of gaming. Well of course I do. We already have streaming services that are being enjoyed by many different groups… but they’re not largely replacing the new releases. And if someone is looking at cable and saying, well hey there is a good idea, everyone hates them so let’s copy that model… eeeh, well, okay. We can talk about that in ten years when they wonder why copying one of the most hated utilities has shifted that hate their way and now they’re… surprised.

Maybe they’re hoping to sell the tech? Is it profitable?

Actually, I think your point that streaming music and video is customized experiences from an enormous library a la Netflix and Spotify, which actually that’s more the subscription business model part of it - that’s the real innovation of streaming media, the tech made it possible but it’s not the game-changer. I actually do use the Google Play Music (haha dead I guess I switched to Youtube Music?) and Google Video(?) parts to stream media that I’ve bought but my internal valuation of that part (the streaming tech) of the service is that it’s worth FREE dollars - part of me is actually “you should be happy for the privilege of hosting my collection/that I’m using your service/that I’m willing to spend my time to upload my content to your service”.

Part of the reason why I mention the Epic Store is at least I feel they tried to get in on the gaming market - their tech is ummmm … but they spent serious money on Freebies and that makes them memorable. Stadia…I can remember one actually interesting sale when they offered Borderlands 3 and some others as a $1 special - and that wasn’t enough to make me bite, such is the cut throat nature of game valuation in the post-Steam, post Humble Bundle, post Epic/Amazon prime AAA freebies world. I remember going through the catalogue to see if anything was worth redeeming a $10 off coupon and discovering that $1 special was the best use of it, the rest of the sale was just ordinary sale prices, of which happen all the time. If they had $1 games all the time - but plenty of stores already do that. They’re just a regular store, which is a pretty tough sell in the PC world. But maybe they’re not losing money, they’re just…a completely unremarkable store.

I mean, their streaming gaming tech is truly a technological marvel, but… is there anything else to their dream of the future? Did they ever get the instant jump into a Hitman savegame from a link working? At least xCloud is playing with the GamePass a subscription library model - and I can see streaming as very attractive there, since currently I install things hoping to have them ready to play and end up uninstalling them when they rotate out of the service. That would completely free up all that disk space used up by my backlog.

I’m so sick of Google moving things around, retiring this, merging that. I have no idea what they did with HangOuts or +, maybe’s the same thing. I don’t know. Yeah it’s YouTubeMusic now. As far as I know I converted everything some time ago.

My sister got a Stadia account because company sort of forced people through it to get a beta or EA, maybe it was Humankind. I don’t know. The next thing she knew she is getting an email saying Stadia was changing. I was like, oh yeah, You got that account didn’t you, just for that. She has spent zero on it, and plans to spend zero on it.

I currently use Playstation+, and the main reason was for MP which I am still not happy with. I don’t really value the free games they put on there that much because… I wanted to have those games, I would’ve bought them. For me, free games is not the issue, free devoted time to play games is. 20 year old me though would’ve loved to spend like a minimal amount to have games to play with other people that I knew would work because I burned so much money on crap and games that didn’t work.

I think streaming will carve it’s way into our donut… but when people say mainstream, I don’t think that’s console or PC today, I think mobile is full stream ahead and lot of those games are cheap, fast to downlead, painless fun… and then Fortnite.

I also think it helped no one, zero people, that Google was behind this first push. There track record with these things… I feel sorry for any devs that hopped onto that wagon thinking maybe this time they would treat this approach as something than some employees vlog attempt.