Will Google Stadia Survive 2022?

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Google Stadia launched in 2019. And to say the launch was underwhelming would be an understatement. Two years later, how is the service holding up? And will it be able to survive another year?

Stadia launched with the hope of bringing game streaming to the masses. It hasn’t quite delivered on that promise. Google has a history of abandoning poor projects, and Stadia seems to be a prime candidate for deletion.

Game streaming seems like the future of video games. Stadia works exactly how you would want it to work. You go to their web store, purchase your game, and play it on any device. You don’t need any expensive hardware, you can use pretty much any peripheral you want, and as long as your internet is reliable, it just works. This is the dream of game streaming, and Stadia, for the most part, is delivering on that.

It’s not that Stadia is a bad streaming service, quite the opposite actually. When you compare Stadia to other game streaming services it outperforms them on most margins. It delivers a higher resolution than Amazon Luna, much lower lag than Gamepass cloud streaming, and it’s easier to set up than GeForce Now. So why is it failing?

I used Stadia for a few months late last year. It was nigh impossible to find a PS5 or Xbox Series X throughout the year, even harder in the early months, and my base PS4 and Xbox one were really slogging. Stadia was offering a free controller and Chromecast ultra to Youtube premium subscribers. As a premium subscriber I decided, let’s get one.

Destiny 2 was and still is completely free to play on Stadia. Naturally, this is the first game I decided to load up. I have installed Destiny on no less than 5 different systems in my lifetime, and when I went to start it on Stadia I waited for that downloading screen. Suddenly though, I was logging into my Bungie profile and remembered, oh yeah, this is all cloud-based. There won’t be any downloading. To go from zero to Destiny 2 in less than three minutes is something special I still think about.

Destiny 2 Google Stadia

It wasn’t long before I was buying games for the platform and had subscribed to their premium membership. This membership gave me a library of games, new ones added each month, and the ability to play in 4k. I thought to myself “why do I need a PS5? Stadia works great”. And for most people, I would say this actually is the case, with a few major caveats.

The first cracks in Stadia’s glass I started to see were the sub-par offerings from their premium monthly service. The Stadia Pro games leave a lot to be desired, especially when compared to Gamepass or Sony’s PlayStation Now. Coupled with the fact that it was required to play my purchased games in 4k, it felt like I was getting a pretty raw deal.

The second issue I ran into was how lonely the Stadia experience was. I couldn’t find anyone to play with. Some games do allow cross-play with PC players, but for the most part, Stadia games’ user base is desolate. If you desire to play with friends at all, Stadia should not be your first choice.

The last and final nail in the coffin came with Cyberpunk 2077.

Cyberpunk 2077 Stadia

The launch of Cyberpunk 2077 was, to put it nicely, a mess. I ran into one particular bug while playing on Stadia where I couldn’t reload, or change weapons, or do anything really except die. It was a pretty common bug and almost immediately CDPR was releasing patches and bug fixes at a weekly clip. I knew it was only a matter of time until that glitch would be fixed. Two weeks later CPDR released a bug fix for the reloading problem. I logged back into Night City, right where I left off, in the middle of an intense firefight. I unloaded a clip into some thugs heading towards me and realized, I couldn’t reload.

Confused, I looked back at the patch notes to see what I must have missed. I could have sworn that glitch was fixed. Checking again, sure enough, reloading bug, fixed. It was then I realized I was looking at patch notes for console versions. The Stadia version of Cyberpunk had yet to receive any bug fixes.

This trend continued not just with Cyberpunk 2077 but also with Outriders, Marvel’s Avengers, and every new Ubisoft release. Stadia versions of these games had such a low player base, that studios felt little urgency to fix these bugs. It makes sense on paper, but when you’ve spent the same sixty dollars as a PS5 owner for a broken game that isn’t getting fixed, it doesn’t feel very fair.

Stadia FIFA 21

Stadia is in an odd position. The only way their platform will improve is through increasing their player base, but they cant increase their player base without improving their platform. It’s a catch-22.

Stadia could be a great platform for a large swath of gamers. Those that buy FIFA and Madden every year but play little else, could truly benefit from forgoing expensive hardware needed to run these games. But after they buy the sixty dollar title, they’ll quickly realize there’s no one around to play with.

The gamer who is constantly traveling could greatly benefit from taking Stadia on the go. Having your entire game library with you on your phone or tablet is invaluable. But when that game library consists of paltry pro offerings and broken games with no patch in sight, what’s the point?

Stadia has a future somewhere. They probably won’t be fighting Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo throughout 2022, but their software is good. The streaming works. Controller input lag is minimal, the resolution is far better than its competitors, and the ease of use is unparalleled. Google just bit off a bit more than they can chew.

I’m excited to see this technology licensed to someone that can use it. That needs to be Google’s Play. If they don’t, Stadia is going to be the next project heading to the graveyard.

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15 thoughts on “Will Google Stadia Survive 2022?”

  1. Marketing is dead, no one i know heard of stadia. IT S GOOGLE!!! WHEN I SEARCH A GANE ON GOOGLE, IF THAT GAME EXISTS IN STADIA LIBRARY, IT SHOULD SHOW IT TO ME AS FIRST RESULT. AND ALSO MAYBE GIVE ME A SNEAK PEAK, PLAY A FEW MINUTES WITHOUT SAVING/NEEDING AN ACCOUNT. after that, if i dont know about stadia i would be “WOOOW OMG THAT WAS SOOO SIICK”

    Reply
  2. To understand Stadia you need to understand who is it actually for. In truth it’s for everyone, but who it’s best suitable suitable for anyone who wants to play on multiple TV’s around the house. Play in the living room, then when the family wants to use the TV there, move to a bedroom and continue.

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  3. “You don’t need any expensive hardware…”

    That is the point of a console. It is a dedicated–inexpensive–gaming device that offers the best gaming experiences to the masses, can acquired used at steep discounts, doesn’t need to be always online, offers the most lag-free multiplayer experience, supports physical media and used games, and receives the highest level of support from publishers and developers. Nothing is ever going to compete with that for the foreseeable future in the hardcore gaming space, well, except for PC gaming, which is ironic because PC hardware is expensive. So on the one hand a current-console can be obtained for 499.99 USD or less and a top-of-the-line PC gaming rig can be purchased for upwards of 3000.00 USD which is an investment many make. There’s no practical advantage, in the context of streaming gaming services, to claim “You don’t need any expensive hardware.” I hope they stop repeating this nonsense.

    Reply
  4. I think the main point being missed here (and in my opinion the main reason that stadia never picked up steam) is that the other more successful streaming platforms like xcloud and GeForce now are a backup for a local existing gaming experience, whether that is Xbox or your existing steam library. Stadia sold itself as a cloud native system with no local alternative and also no ability to piggyback on an existing library which made gamers very wary up front, especially when combined with Google’s history of pulling the plug on projects if they are not successful. Ironically, the lack of faith in the platform is potentially likely to lead to that exact outcome that people are concerned about, which will only prove their points. I personally think Google should have partnered with other platforms from the get-go. In my opinion, their Ubisoft game pass integration was the highest point of the service and they should have done more of that, provided stadia as a backup for people’s existing libraries to show them that it worked rather than forcing them to buy into the system whole hog.

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  5. I am currently trying Stadia, and I’m actually really impressed. Everything Joe wrote holds true to my experiences. I would love to see my favorite Free to Play game, Apex Legends make it’s way too Stadia so I have another platform to play it on. Rocket League would also be a great option. For now though, it’s nice to have another platform to play games on while my PS4 is at home, and that have some fun titles that are PC-only that I’m looking forward to trying it.

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  6. Stadia doesn’t need to survive coz it’s not dying, morons, it’s growing up and it’s the best. THE BEST CLOUD PLATFORM. If you want to talk first try cloud platforms coz I know you didn’t even try it. Pc losers or console losers. I’m stadia player and I will never buy any machine, I just don’t need to.

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  7. Family share. Play in any screen, yes 4k in your tablet or mobile, you don’t need that Nintendo switch garbage. Cheapest service. Games are not removed. Best quality with no input lag. Top cloud gaming service so far.
    It’s the only platform which offers game development in Crayta in the cloud, you don’t need a powerful pc to develop games and learn to make them.
    There is not A SINGLE REASON to buy a pc or console over stadia except maybe for the amount of games/exclusives, which is not something for “the majority”.

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  8. I completely disagree with what you say about cyberpunk, stadia was the only platform, except PC, that cyberpunk was playable and in a very good quality, patches were coming out at the same time as anywhere else and without the need of any download, not to mention that it was the cheapest place to buy it considering you were getting a controller and a chromecast ultra for free

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  9. Their LinkedIn job posting says very much otherwise. The amount of players in individual popular game leaderboards (e.g. Dirty 5 passed 70k stadians), also.
    But look, it doesn’t need to convince anyone from mainstream to work. Nobody mainstream needed to agree whether wifi was going to be popular, or Xbox was going to work. It just happens.
    Those articles are cute, but don’t age well because their objectivity is a lot of wishful thinking on what should’ve been, not an evaluation of the service actually is and where is heading (making devs reach the public without intermediaries).

    Cheers and good luck!

    Reply
  10. For me as a young, single adult who moves around a bit Stadia is almost the only viable platform available. When all I need is my phone and a controller, Stadia is great. I’ve had a habit of breaking and reinstalling operating systems, and downloading games and updates is awful and time consuming. Stadia only requires a browser and my Google account, so that’s up in minutes. If I want to relax on the couch in front of the TV I can bring my controller in and keep playing without fiddling with wires, or even the cast button. Unlike other Google experiments, I regularly pay more money into Stadia and get pretty good value

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  11. I think it will survive and personally think this article to get clicks which is what it has done

    Just remember its a start up service which I find better then PlayStation now might not have PlayStation titles but it still is better then
    PlayStation now with better connection and no input lag

    Reply
  12. Google stadia is “amazing” in every way that the word is intended to be used. The responsiveness of the controller is amazing. The concept is amazing. The amount of games you get for 79.99 + $10/mo (when NOT on sale) is amazing. The current library of games for a system that didn’t require an investment of $400 or more up front is amazing. The potential of this “console” in delivering a console experience at 1080p-4K wherever you are is amazing. The lack of presence at video game conferences is amazing. The under-promotion on Google searches is amazing. The minimal presence on the Google store website is amazing. The fact that just about everyone I know doesn’t know what Stadia IS is amazing. It’s a shame, but Google has amazed in just about every way, and it turns out that it’ll still end up unsuccessful. I can only hope that I’m wrong, but that too would be amazing. (Btw, I have like 8 premier editions)

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  13. For me Stadia is GREAT. I don’t want to choose between consoles and I like trad mouse and keyboard RPGs, I have a good desktop and internet link because of my job but I don’t want to slow down the desktop with games and game saves, again because I need it work. Stadia solves all that. It is the best thing I’ve discovered in gaming during the last 5 years…
    It needs to survive.

    Reply

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