As someone who was initially excited about the possibilities of Google Stadia, I was disappointed when it was announced that the consumer-facing side of the platform would be shutting down. At that time, Google Cloud’s “Immersive Stream for Games” white-label B2B technology was said to be “going on to do greater things“. Unfortunately, due to the frustration with Stadia’s closure, no one really cared about Immersive Stream or its potential at the time.
Recently, however, a tweet from Stephen Totilo of Axios shed some light on what happened to the now defunct cloud gaming platform’s infrastructure. In his conversation with Google’s Jack Buser, it was revealed that the technology was actually shut down at the same time as Stadia! Yep, you heard that right. Apparently, the two were so intricately tied together that Google couldn’t offer Stadia-style game-streaming to clients even if it wanted to.
“Google is absolutely committed to games that are such a big part of our messaging,” Buser says. “When we made the decision with Stadia, we were just like, Look, we are committed to games as an industry.”Axios
This is a pretty depressing revelation, as it confirms that Stadia truly is dead. The tech is no longer the focus for consumers or even businesses, and it seems like Google has simply moved on. However, the company just announced its “Cloud for Live Games” strategy, which is an effort to provide live service tools at scale to game studios and publishers. In other words, Google is better at building platforms for other people instead of for themselves. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, Jack said this himself!
“I don’t think anybody can argue with the technology. I mean, the technology was pretty incredible. What we specifically realized internally, as we were making that tough decision to wind down Stadia, is that we are much better at building platforms so other people can build their platforms.”Venturebeat
It’s no secret that most live service games have basically been terrible, soulless cash grabs, and many of them have already failed over the past few years. Stadia fans are clearly upset about all of this new direction Google is taking, but well all know that Google does what it thinks is best. While we may not like it, this strategy has certainly kept the company moving forward, with or without its fans and on pretty much all occasions.
In the end, it seems that Stadia’s technology really won’t go on to do better things after all. However, maybe Google will find success with its Cloud for Live Games strategy for two reasons. First and foremost, the company has expressed time and again that despite its failures, gaming is a central part of its focus in many areas. Second, despite my hatred for live service games, and as much as it pains me to say this, they are likely the grim future we face.
Luckily, indie developers and their games will help balance that out since they’ve exploded in popularity over the last decade. Anyway, only time will tell. For now, we can only hope that Google will continue to innovate and provide meaningful contributions to the gaming industry in some way, shape, or form.