Google Stadia is giving away two free months of Stadia Pro. It’s £9 a month here in the UK and it’s the version (if any) of Stadia you want as it poses the least amount of risk for the consumer should Stadia be sent to the Google graveyard like many Google projects before it.
Anyone who signs up will get two free months of Stadia Pro with instant access to nine games, including GRID, Destiny 2: The Collection, and Thumper. Sure, it might be worth playing a game or two for a little while to check the cloud platform out, but here’s why it won’t save Stadia.
For one, as brash as it is, Stadia just isn’t a very good platform at all. There’s a tiny library of games and this comes from game developers innate dis-trust of Google to stick it out in the Gaming space.
“We spoke with game developers and publishers who said there are two main reasons their games aren’t on Stadia, Google didn’t offer them enough money, and they don’t trust the mercurial company to stick with gaming in the long term.”As reported by Business Insider
For years Google was rumoured to enter the gaming space. There was naturally a lot of speculation given the size of the company. After all, it’s a company that is far larger than Sony and almost matches the size and wealth of Microsoft. When Stadia was eventually revealed, there was a widespread meh reaction to it that the Stadia team failed to change.
Calling it a platform almost seems disingenuous considering the stark lack of features. Stadia is essentially a digital storefront whereby you can buy games and stream them to your device via cloud gaming. It seems revolutionary, but the general consensus that we found out with the Xbox One is that the overwhelming majority of gamers are not on board with cloud gaming as of yet. It might be the future one day, but that day is not today.
Developers reiterated their fears of putting their games on a platform that could feasibly cease to exist in the next few years. Speaking to Business Insider, one developer had this to say:
“If you could see yourself getting into a long term relationship with Google?” one developer said. “But with Google’s history, I don’t even know if they’re working on Stadia in a year. That wouldn’t be something crazy that Google does. It’s within their track record.”
To compound this problem, it’s also a sentiment that permeated to consumers themselves. The risk of buying full priced games, one whereby you do not technically own the game but rather a license to play it, coupled with the dis-trust in Google to stick-it-out in the long run resulted in many simply refusing to adopt the platform outright.
Whilst not an all-revealing metric, the Destiny 2 player-base on Stadia shines a light on just how few are playing it.
The numbers are absolutely dwarfed by other popular systems and as one of the only free games on Stadia, it does not paint a pretty picture.
Perhaps the biggest challenge Google faces is that they’re not alone in this niche space of cloud gaming/streaming. Microsoft has launched their own xCloud service which simply bests Stadia is every way. For one, being tied to the Xbox brand means that xCloud can enjoy a large library of games thanks to Microsoft’s relationships in an industry they’ve been in for 20+ years.
Overcoming a disastrous launch, a sparse library of games, a dis-trust from developers and consumers alike, and a huge competitor doing cloud gaming better – all of this amounts to what seems like a Sisyphean task for the Google stadia and I’m afraid even giving it away for free won’t be enough to save it.