Back in April, Stadia joined the one million download club on the Google Play Store. While that’s a relatively impressive feat for an Android app, the app is required to set up a Stadia controller and Chromecast Ultra. While that doesn’t give us an accurate idea of how many users are actually playing on Google’s streaming game platform, a minimum of one million at some point is nothing to sneeze at. That said, NVIDIA’s GeForce Now wrangled one million users just two weeks after officially coming out of beta earlier this year. Granted, it had been in development and live testing for years.
My point here is that Stadia has unfortunately not seen the reception that I feel Google had hoped. Yes, I know that Google had a rocky start with the platform, and those resulted in major setbacks due to negative reviews and lack-luster reception. However, I propose that Stadia has since cleaned up its act and is now delivering exactly what Google has promised. Each month, Stadia drops as many as six new games for Pro subscribers to claim. Right now, I have no less than 25 games sitting in my Stadia library. I may not play many of them but I will be honest, I still feel it’s worth the $10/month I dish out to have it. More major titles are being announced every month and Google is delivering on bringing Stadia-first titles to the platform.
Regardless of your impressions of Stadia, Google is on to something here and we are sincerely hopeful that the streaming game service has the staying power to go the long haul. Stadia continues to get better with age and Google has gone to great lengths to entice users to try it out with free months of Stadia Pro, discounts on bundles, and even game credits. The company’s latest move could very well be the push the Stadia needs to get over the seemingly endless hump that is fussy gamers like myself and many others.
Google has teamed up with Best Buy to sell and promote the Premiere Edition Stadia bundle on its website and I would presume in stores. Best Buy has already launched a dedicated landing page for Stadia and the Premiere Edition Bundle is listed as “coming soon” for the regular retail price of $99. The Premiere Edition includes the Clearly White Stadia controller and Chromecast Ultra needed to stream games on your television.
Why it matters
If you walked down the street and asked the average person “What’s Stadia?” you’d probably be lucky to have ten percent respond yes. This really isn’t Google’s fault. Heaven knows they’ve thrown plenty of money at marketing. The problem is that most gamers are already dedicated to a specific platform. The few that have discovered Stadia because they are gamers, probably have little interest in making the switch and abandoning the massive hardware investments that they’ve already made. Best Buy, however, is a household name when it comes to electronics. If I were the average Joe and not into tech for a living, I could totally see myself walking into a Best Buy and instantly being captivated by a gaming platform that offers a wide variety of AAA titles but only required a controller and a Chromecast. (Which, by the way, I can use for just about all of my other streaming content.)
I don’t game at home much but my kids love hopping on Stadia and rocking out some Just Dance or Grid. This is where Stadia can really get a foothold. This union between Google and Best Buy is the perfect platform to get Stadia in front of millions of “average” consumers that may not particularly be hardcore games. While I believe that streaming games will eventually become the standard for the industry, we’re still a few years out from seeing the total demise of console gaming. Stadia gives premium gameplay options to users like myself that have little interest in a new XBOX or a custom-built gaming PC. It is my hope that Google and Best Buy go all-in on this new campaign. Post pandemic, it would be awesome to walk into a local Best Buy store and see a massive screen set up with a Stadia controller just out there for shoppers to try out. As a parent, I can totally understand the draw of a $99 “gaming system” that I never have to buy physical games for or upgrade when the next big thing hits the market. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will help solidify Stadia’s place in the market and perhaps, bring some “real” gamers along for the ride. You can check out Best Buy’s Stadia landing page here.
Update: Less than 24 hours later, the Stadia Premiere Edition is available for purchase from Best Buy. You can’t get it in most stores, yet but I would suspect that will change in the future. Have Stadia on display inside brick and mortar locations will be key to getting the service in front of the masses. Check out the listing below.