Stadia - Google's vision for the future of gaming

Second-best way to play CP2077 is GeForce Now. Stadia is roughly equivalent to next-gen consoles though.

I wonder if this has anything to do with their shift with Stadia. Turns out Google Cloud is a huge money loser, and it would probably take another $2-4 billion in investments over the next few years to do Stadia right.

The unit’s losses appear to be growing as the company invests heavily in sales staff. The company said the cloud unit lost $4.65 billion on $8.92 billion in revenue in 2019, and lost $4.35 billion on $5.84 billion in revenue in 2018.

Nearly $15 billion in losses in three years. Damn.

AWS and Azure are printing money for Amazon and MS. What gives?

Turns out offering no support for not-Enterprise tiers, up to and including deleting whole accounts in case of potential mistakes, does not endear newcomers to a fairly established market. Who knew?
I don’t know, not enough value to go for the 3rd tier is the impression I get from people writing about it, I only deal with simple software that doesn’t need any of it.

I think the new plan is to run Stadia like Android. That’s doomed to fail because of the massive front-loaded risk that Stadia presents in terms of on-boarding games as well as rev stream. Not to mention the tech (see Vulcan) requirements which, unlike Android, basically puts it out of reach for all but the big outfits that can afford to do it. Which means indies and even most AA studios are basically out.

This whole thing was half-assed from the start. To sell a console, you at least need to have compelling first and third party games to build confidence and hype. They did the first party side as an afterthought, realized it was likely doomed (making games is hard, most of us could’ve told them that), then promptly killed it. And put their super stars out of work in the process.

And it’s a shame because the tech is solid in a lot of ways, but I just don’t see the biz model working out for all but the funded deep pockets who can afford to dev and babysit another platform, or create their own White box solution (which isn’t as simple as it sounds).

If they were going to go this [third-party] route, that’s where they should have started, then used the first-party money to continue on-boarding exclusive or co-dev games and populate the platform. But from what I’ve heard, that’s not even the route they’re pursuing presently. Which means - again - that the dearth of games is what’s going to kill it.

It’s completely and utterly shocking to me that two of the biggest corps on the planet, Amazon and Google, still can’t seem to get this whole game-making thing to work; despite the deep pockets and exceptional talent. As I said in my Twitter thread about this, it’s all about corp culture.

This is the answer. It feels like someone’s pet project, who the fell out of favor.

This is truly mindblowing. They already have the servers and data centers, just like Amazon. How on earth are they unable to make this work?

If anyone has numbers for Azure’s money printing, please share. They don’t really make that info available. I think Amazon is the only one printing money. Azure is not a comfortable #2 and there are so many services and existing service features Amazon offers, that Azure doesn’t yet, and that Google can more readily engineer if they catch up.

They are making it work. This is a scale game. The customers don’t give any bonus points for you being the small challenger, but will go to whoever has the most features, best reputation, and cheapest prices. AWS is the biggest, and thus the “nobody ever got fired for using AWS” option.

So Google has to have as many engineers working on the cloud products as AWS, as large a sales organization, etc. (There’s also economies of scale around hardware & datacenter purchases, but there they would obviously have enough scale just internally). They also have to have cheaper list prices, and I bet they’re also giving some pretty sweet discounts as incentive for big customers to switch.

There is no point in running that kind of business for profit until you’re the biggest, you invest everything in growth. (Or rather, as much as Ruth Porat lets you invest. Given how freakishly stable the losses are, it seems clear they have been given a budget for how big a loss they are allowed). In two years, they’ve grown from 22% of AWS to 30%. It’s not just that they’re buying the revenue either, since the losses went from 75% to 33% of revenue. So it looks pretty healthy.

Anyway, to bring it back to Stadia, the scale argument works for game streaming as well. Actually, it might be more brutal there since the usage patterns will be more spiky. You need to provision for the Cyberpunk 2077 launch. How will you keep a high utilization for the remaining 51 weeks? Certainly not by signing up a single mid-tier publisher. It needs to be a platform where everyone brings their games to. MS has the scale. Sony would have the scale, but already gave up and crawled to Microsoft. Nintendo won’t be interested. Nobody will have a working business model on the PC side. And now we know that Stadia will not have the scale either.

If the future of hardware buying is going to be what we’re experiencing these last months, maybe game streaming really is the future.

As noted above, streaming is limited, specifically because you will have spikes with any big release and you often cannot predict what the peak of that spike will be. The moment you end up with crashing hardware or worse… queues to play a new game that last for minutes or hours… you’ve reached a quick disinterest in game streaming.

It’s exactly like your hardware comment in the sense that there is always a finite amount of product available. At least if you buy a console/PC and buy the game, you can play it immediately. With streaming, you may be sitting in World of Warcraft-like launch queues and more importantly, paying for the privilege to do so.

Streaming will never be more than a secondary method for gaming at best, and a last resort at worst because of this reality.

Are there queues when downloading from Xbox Live or whatever?

But they wouldn’t be able to buy the hardware for the data centers!

I can see the concept of game streaming becoming far more commonplace or even the default at some point in the future, but that threshold is really far off. Like VR people are making the mistake of thinking it is just around the corner, but the technology, infrastructure, and social acceptance just isn’t there yet and won’t be for a while.

This is especially true in the US with our dated infrastructure farther away from major cities, data caps, high prices for access, and monopoly-adjacent ISPs. The US doesn’t even have net neutrality protections at the moment.

Apart from the fact VR and streaming are here now. With real products. That work.

And is too expensive and there’s junk laying around the house.

Same could be said of space travel. :-)

I care more about that poor person still being locked out of the Google account than that old game on every other platform also being on Stadia.

Agreed 100%. Reading about him being locked out has spurred me to start moving off Gmail. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while but… phew it’s so much hassle. I’ve got a gazillion different online accounts tied to to my Gmail and getting locked out would be catastrophic.