In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Google Stadia developer and marketing lead, Nate Ahearn said the platform is "alive and well."
"We're well on our way to over 100 new games launching on Stadia in 2021, and we're continuing to make Stadia a great place to play games on devices you already own," he added. "I'd tell any non-believers to take notice of how we're continuing to put our words into action, as we grow the Stadia Makers program and partner with AAA studios like Capcom, EA, Square Enix, Ubisoft, and others."
Over the past year, the Stadia platform has not received the best publicity. In February of this year, Google shut down its internal games development studio for the Statdia platform, Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E). Via a blog post, the company announced that it will focus on partnering with third-party game studios instead.
Shutting down SG&E meant that the company would not develop any first-party titles for Stadia that could capitalize on the full potential of the stadia platform. The company lost Jade Raymond, a former producer at EA and Ubisoft with this decision. Raymond went on to start her own studio Haven Studios with an investment from PlayStation. Six members of the Stadia team also left to join Haven Studios. Earlier this month, Stadia's Head of Product, John Justice also resigned and has taken up a new position at Facebook. All of these incidents have prompted skeptics to question the viability and lifespan of Google's platform.
In response to the chatter, Nate Ahearn shut down naysayers in his interview with GamesIndustry. He clarified that the platform is doing well and that Google is "focused on delivering value for our partners and on behalf of our players."
What is Google Stadia?
Stadia is a cloud gaming service developed by Google. Similar to how internet users can stream content like movies and tv shows from any supported smart device using a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon, the idea behind Google's Stadia was to make it possible for users to do the same for games. This would mean that players would not need to have expensive and highly capable machines and gaming setups to play games. Instead, all of the processing would take place on Stadia's servers. In theory, anyone with any type of smart device would be able to play games from a device they already own without the need to purchase a separate console or upgrade their setup.
The problems with Google Stadia
A good idea, in theory, the execution of Google's game streaming platform has not been without flaw. The biggest criticism for the platform at its launch was a significant and very noticeable input lag. This meant that users would input commands in their controllers but the game would respond after a delay, making gameplay highly frustrating. At launch, the platform did not support iOS mobile devices and the only way for users to try the platform was via a monthly subscription. Google has been working hard to address these criticisms by reducing lag and has introduced a free tier for the platform. Users who sign up for the free tier will get access to the Pro subscription for a month and can try the 30 titles currently available on Stadia.
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1. May 2021, M. Perrigio, "I'll Say it Again - Stadia is "Alive and Well" As Google Shuts Down Non-Believers", [available online] available from: https://chromeunboxed.com/google-stadia-alive-and-well-ahearn-zimring [accessed May 2021]
2. May 2021, J. Batchelor, "Google says Stadia is "alive and well"", [available online] available from: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-05-13-google-says-stadia-is-alive-and-well [accessed May 2021]
3. Dec 2020, E. Witman, "What is Stadia? Here's what you need to know about Google's game-streaming platform", [available online] available from: https://www.businessinsider.in/tech/how-to/what-is-stadia-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-googles-game-streaming-device/articleshow/ [accessed May 2021]