Google Stadia: what will happen now?

Google Stadia: what will happen now?
Through a recent press release, Google has released the news that the development studies set up for Stadia have ceased their activity. This means that in the near future, the streaming game service will not have games produced internally exclusively for this platform. In addition, the company wanted to do a reorganization with regard to the gaming section, probably to give a change to the current situation that is too stationary and try to better promote Stadia in the large video game market. In short, there is an air of change within Google's gaming sector, so what better opportunity to try to imagine the future of Stadia based on the information in our possession. We will try to understand what their strategy will be to attract users' attention and how it could change the monetization model of the service, all to try to answer the question: what will happen now with Google Stadia?

Let's take a step back

Stadia was announced at the 2019 Game Developers Conference with a respectable presentation. Google has promised gamers a truly excellent cloud gaming service on paper, attracting the attention of many fans of the sector. The accessibility to the gaming world demonstrated at the presentation event was simply disarming. Having a vast library of video games available on any device with a simple click, without downloads, without updates, without having a console was pure utopia only until a few years ago. As if that were not enough, Google promised superior performance to the next generation consoles arrived last fall and numerous functions possible exclusively on streaming gaming platforms.

Needless to say, the excitement for the arrival of such a service skyrocketed immediately following the announcement. Many people saw Stadia as a valuable service that could bring them into the world of video games, neglecting the barrier of entry represented by the purchase of a gaming machine. However, at the launch in 2019, the first problems appeared. Stadia was launched in a sort of beta version, available on a very limited number of devices with reduced functions and a rather poor and non-exclusive video game catalog. Everything was then seasoned with the lack of the free mode of the service and the truly exaggerated prices on the rather old titles in the library offered by Stadia. In short, the expectations of many gamers have been knocked down, while Google continued to promise constant news coming with future updates. Arriving in 2021, the service has been significantly improved and the video game catalog has received such gems as the recent Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Google has added support for Apple devices and numerous other Android smartphones and tablets. However, some functions promised in the presentation event are still missing and the service is struggling to spread as Google hoped when it promised "the future of gaming" on their platform.

Google's goal changes

By closing the internal studios dedicated to the development of video games exclusively for Stadia and making a reorganization of the key members of the service, Google has clearly set new goals for the streaming platform. In recent weeks, several decisive events have occurred, which could have changed the fate of the service. The release of the new generation consoles has undoubtedly led to a new peak of interest in video games. Unfortunately, however, their availability is still very limited and will probably be for a few more months. This has led gamers from all over the world to look for alternatives to be able to try the new titles to their fullest potential. Only a few weeks after the launch of Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 Cyberpunk 2077 arrived on the market. Not only did CD Projekt RED's game arrive at the same time also on Stadia, but the streaming version on the Google platform is still better than its counterparts. console. Google took the ball rolling, offering an attractive offer that at half the price guaranteed access to the official Stadia controller, the Chromecast Ultra and the Cyberpunk 2077 game. Needless to say, the package in question disappeared from the Google store in a few days. .

Could this have been the straw that broke the camel's back to embark on a new route? We can't know, but it certainly has partly influenced Google's choices for the foreseeable future. By closing its development studios dedicated to Stadia, the company from now on aims to expand the catalog of video games created by third parties. In the recent press release, Phil Harrison repeatedly stressed that their main customer is no longer the final gamers, but the external development studios that can sell their games through Google Stadia. This is their new goal: to offer a streaming platform to further spread the video games developed by others. Most likely the sales of Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia have shown how this business model could be a winner for the future of the service, which will no longer have to invest money to try to develop its own video games. To further demonstrate this line of thought, FIFA 21 has recently been added to the Google Stadia catalog. A video game of some importance, especially for its enormous popularity and diffusion.

So what awaits us?

The message spread by Google in recent days is also aimed at third-party developers . Phil Harrison is saying between the lines: "Hey, look we are no longer competing with you, we don't want to make video games anymore. Come and sell your titles to us who have a very good service." In this way, for example, the new Call Of Duty, FIFA, Monster Hunter or any other upcoming game could reach many more players thanks to Stadia. Developers would earn more, having a huge user base to which they can sell the game. In fact, let's remember that Stadia is available on practically every device capable of connecting to the internet. Just considering smartphones and tablets, the number of potential customers would increase dramatically from a few hundred million to ten billion. Not to mention that with the new Smart TVs, every TV will already have Stadia incorporated, ready to be used just like a home console. Google on the other hand would continue to earn commissions on the sales of individual video games and on extra subscriptions such as Stadia Pro.

Obviously in this case, the end player would also receive great benefits, managing to obtain a vast library of titles from numerous development studios. The catalog would be expanded and there would be room for more games, therefore also a greater number of discounted titles and a more attractive Stadia Pro library. So if before we could have imagined that Google wanted to enter into direct competition with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, after only 14 months from the launch the giant has already given up. Will Google Stadia then go bankrupt and close soon? Only time will tell, but for the moment it seems to have simply embraced a different philosophy to monetize and optimize costs. If numerous other producers start selling their games on Stadia, it is likely that Google's revenue will start to grow dramatically, thanks to the accessibility and spread of the service. The only problem at this point seems to be getting developers to believe in Stadia and convert their titles for the streaming platform. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, using the Linux system does not simplify things at all, but in the future Google may release special devkits capable of making the conversion easy and immediate.

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