In September 2022, Google released a statement saying Stadia was winding down. The games library remained available until January 2023 for those who wanted to continue the service but it has now completely closed. Anyone who purchased Stadia hardware and games via the Google Store received a refund but why did Stadia fail to capture the imagination of online gamers?
What Was Stadia
Stadia was a cloud based gaming service, said to be the ‘Netflix for gamers’. The basis of Stadia was to allow gamers to play games without needing to use a specific device. All the games were available in the cloud meaning no games were downloaded and installed on a device. So, players could access a game using Stadia in the same way as accessing an episode of a show on Netflix. When watching a show on Netflix, the content remains with Netflix and the idea was for Stadia to offer a similar service for online games but it did not work. There was nothing wrong with the technology so what was it about Stadia that saw it close just three years after launch?
An Unrequired Service
As mentioned above, there was nothing wrong with the tech behind Stadia or the idea of streaming online video games. However, most people who are interested in online gaming already owned a console or used some other device on which to play games, such as a mobile phone. Anyone who wanted to play the big titles available on Stadia already owned the technology to play those games. In addition, people like the idea of paying to own a game rather than stream a game. It was not possible to lower the price to stream a game to match the television, film, and music streaming prices. If the prices of the games offered by Stadia had matched those in the other online streaming industries it might have survived but the development costs involved in creating online games did not allow for that to happen.
Lack of Exclusive Games
A feature that would have attracted online gamers to Stadia is exclusive games. All gaming consoles have a collection of strong exclusive games and people often make their decision about which console to buy based on the exclusive online games. Even the top online casinos offer exclusive games to their players and the latest casino reviews highlight some of the casinos with exclusive games. Stadia did have some exclusive games but they did not match the quality of exclusive online games found elsewhere. That meant players chose to stick with the gaming consoles they could trust to deliver the high quality of online games they desired.
Some of the other factors listed for the failure of Stadia to entice online gamers includes poor marketing, limited available in some countries, high costs of obtaining the equipment to play, and some technical limitations. There was nothing wrong with the idea but without any real demand, Stadia was always going to struggle to get a foothold in the online gaming industry.