Google Stadia was launched in November 2019 and is a cloud gaming service developed by Google. There are several ways to access Google Stadia, including the Stadia mobile app, Google Chrome web browser, Chromecast Ultra, and Android TV devices. Google Stadia can stream games up to 60 frames per second with high-dynamic-range at 4K resolution. It sounds fantastic but did Google Stadia fail to meet the hype?
A report by Bloomberg in 2021 showed how Google Stadia did not meet sales expectations and that is for both subscriptions to the gaming service and controllers. It got to the point where Google were giving away controllers for free to try and tempt people to subscribe to Google Stadia. You do not see Microsoft and Sony giving away controllers for free in an attempt to persuade people to buy the Xbox or PlayStation. The simple fact Google were prepared to give away controllers for free tells you everything you need to know about where Google Stadia was at in early 2021.
Some onlookers believed Google released Stadia before it was ready. By releasing a gaming product too soon, it was always going to struggle to compete with the likes of Xbox and PlayStation and so it proved.
Moving to February 2022 and things did not improve for Google Stadia. When launching the product, Google highlighted how the company would use its cloud expertise to offer a fantastic gaming service to customers. Google does have servers all over the world and that means Stadia should be available in many countries. However, as of February 2022, Google Stadia was only available in 22 countries, which is a small number compared to the figures discussed during the launch of the product.
Indeed, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, when making the opening statement about the launch of Google Stadia, said, “Our custom server hardware and data centres can bring more computing power to more people on planet Earth than anyone else. Today, we are in 19 regions and in over 200 countries and territories connected by hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre optic cables.” So, as things stand, Google Stadia is operating in just over 10% of the countries in which Google operates, which is disappointing.
Taking Xbox Cloud Gaming as an example, it was still in the beta stage in February but was available in 26 countries. Nvidia’s GeForce Now is available in over 80 countries and PlayStation Now, which is the weakest of the Google Stadia competitors, is available in at least 19 countries.
At the time of launch, Google Stadia did not have much to offer in terms of games. There are now over 200 titles available in the Google Stadia store, but a lot of money has been invested to bring third party games to Google Stadia, with Red Dead Redemption 2 being a good example. It was reported Google paid millions of dollars to secure Red Dead Redemption 2 for Stadia. Perhaps offering the chance to play casino games would have helped to attract new customers. Many of the leading online casinos have a huge range of casino games and some of these could have been added into an adult section.
Exclusive games have been launched on Google Stadia, such as Gylt, which has proved popular with some gamers. However, a lack of support and weak line-up of exclusive games is one of the reasons why Google Stadia has not hit the heights we were all expecting.
Google will continue to support Google Stadia and there is belief it will come good. However, it is fair to say that it did not meet the hype upon release.