Google Stadia: Transferring your progress isn't enough

Google Stadia: Transferring your progress isn't enough

Google Stadia

The closure of Google Stadia came a bit like a bolt from the blue, at least for the ways in which it occurred. Two months before the announcement, in fact, Google itself had stated that there was no forecast of stopping the cloud gaming service, but the facts have shown the opposite. And while we launch into reflections on the current triple A video game industry, the problems of us consumers remain, who with a market that pushes more and more towards digital delivery risks making us lose games and above all the time invested in hours. Some publishers have already announced their intention to transfer their titles to other platforms and of course also the characters and so has Bethesda, who has decided to save all the players of The Elder Scrolls Online.

As reported on Twitter, in fact, the development team behind the MMO based on the single-player adventure franchise decided to implement a character transfer, to prevent everyone from losing their progress. "We are happy to announce that Google Stadia players will be able to transfer their The Elder Scrolls Online accounts to PC", the words contained in the press release launched via the social network. "Since the servers were shared with the other versions of the game, all friends and guilds will remain at your disposal." All right, right? Absolutely not.

The solution puts us in front of another problem, also raised by PC Gamer colleagues and above all by users. Those who played on Google Stadia did so because they did not have a performing PC available. Cloud gaming frees you from hardware barriers and transferring to other clients may not be enough. While it is true that players' progress is not lost, it is also true that it is difficult to continue playing if there is no platform to do so.

A message to our ESO Stadia players:

- The Elder Scrolls Online (@TESOnline) October 6, 2022

The closure of Google Stadia therefore leads us to open a greater question: when a certain cloud gaming service closes, how will users be protected? At the moment this aspect only concerns the Mountain View service, since each game was still subject to payment unlike what happens to other shores, but the question remains legitimate. And it is just another of the many that show us how this technology is the right way for a democratic industry, but perhaps still too little mature.

Shack Chat: Geoff Keighley asks, 'What is your favorite Google Stadia memory?'

Released back in November 2019, Google Stadia offered users a means of gaming without the hassle of bulky physical hardware. While the product and service created competition within the cloud gaming sphere, it would appear that Stadia didn’t win said competition. In a statement by Google Stadia VP and General Manager of Stadia Phil Harrison, the company revealed that the service will be shut down on January 18, 2023.

Geoff Keighley, The Game Awards and Summer Game Fest legend himself, took to Twitter to ask users their favorite memory of Google Stadia. So let’s answer him.

Question: What is your favorite Google Stadia memory?Tekken 7 coming to the platform - TJ Denzer, hates input lag in FGsImage shows a Tekken fighters kicking another fighterSource: Bandai Namco

Do you know what has never blended well with fighting games in particular? Input lag. Especially in Tekken where every frame can mean the difference between winning and losing a match. So when I learned Tekken 7 was coming to Google Stadia, that sounded like a nightmare scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I always knew the Stadia could do a lot of amazing things. Games that required pinpoint timing are not it. XCOM? JRPGs? Strategy games? Yay, Stadia! That was great use for the platform, but games that demand your reactions and inputs to be extra precise even before taking the bandwidth for netplay into consideration? Man, just Death Fist me right in the heart so I don’t have to suffer.

My Behind-Closed-Doors Demo - Blake Morse, Saw a Stadia in the Wild OnceThree Google Stadia controllersSource: GameSpot

My only interaction with Stadia was at PAX a few years back, I think the last one before the pandemic hit and shut down such events for a moment. I got a behind-closed-doors hands-on demo with the controller and Mortal Kombat 11. I’m not sure a fighting game was the best option here, but it was an ambitious attempt to show just how well the cloud-based gaming worked with a game where latency would be a serious issue.

It did…okay-ish?

I mean, if I’m being honest, there were a lot of issues just getting the internet to function properly since we were in the middle of a convention floor with thousands of people trying to use it at the same time. Which was yet another ambitious front to try and get folks to test Stadia on. Actually playing the game wasn’t that bad though, to be honest. The controller was solid enough, basically copying the Xbox’s controller layout and functions, and the game looked fine. But you could still feel some of that latency. And I think that’s a good metaphor for Stadia overall: It was ambitious with something to prove, but until there’s no such thing as latency (and who knows if that will ever be a thing), fighting games might not necessarily be the best thing to use to show off your cloud gaming experience.

I was there with Blake - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Stadia Follower

I was at that Stadia meeting with Blake at PAX West back in the Before Times. We did indeed get to check out the controller and take a look at Mortal Kombat 11, which I had just looked at earlier in the year. I'm also going to say it was okay. I had latency concerns, but the best thing I can say about it is that it certainly ran and the controller felt alright.

Unfortunately, there was nothing at that time to convince me that it was going to take off, especially in rural America where high-speed internet is much harder to get. I'm sad that we're not at a point where something like Stadia can succeed and that this first run's failure means we probably won't see anything like it again for a while. At least from Google anyway. Maybe Amazon Luna will take off. Who knows?

Luckstruck9 - Sam Chandler, User of CheckpointsLuckstruck9Source: Luckstruck9's Twitter

Destiny 2 has got to be one of my favorite games. Despite playing it endlessly, writing about it every day, and oftentimes getting frustrated with it, I still love logging in and playing. For me, my fondest memory of Google Stadia exists as a tool to make Destiny 2 easier. One legend by the name of Luckstruck9 holds checkpoints using numerous Stadia accounts.

For those that don’t know, holding a checkpoint means sitting in an encounter, keeping it active so players can join you, let them “take” the checkpoint, and then go back to their friends. This is useful if you want to fight the final boss in a raid but don’t want to play through the other 90 percent of it.

It’s basically allowed my team to engage with endgame content in a manner that fits our time schedule. With the shuttering of Google Stadia’s doors, I don’t know how Luckstruck9 will continue this incredible service. Also, check out his incredible Warlock fashion.

Jan owning a Stadia - Bill Lavoy, Knew Better

My favorite Stadia memory is having Jan, host of Shack Air on Thursday evenings, log into his Stadia and join me in Destiny 2 so I could turn in bounties for the maximum XP bonus. I knew right away that Stadia wasn’t for me. I much prefer to let early adopters suffer through the tech growing pains and then hop on the bandwagon when all the kinks are worked out. Never got the chance with Stadia, but at least I got some additional XP.

Indie games on Stadia - Morgan Shaver, Indie game loverCeleste standing in a cave with pink crystal and a golden featherSource: Matt Makes Games via Steam

I don’t have a lot of clearly defined memories of Google Stadia, having never owned one personally nor having ever tested Stadia out via demo. That said, looking at the list of games on offer, there’s a surprising amount of awesome must-play indie games in the Stadia lineup. I’m always excited when it comes to new ways to discover and enjoy indies, so it’s nice to see that Stadia has (or had) a top shelf selection of titles in that regard. Some awesome indies that were available through Stadia included Celeste, Enter the Gungeon, Hello Neighbor, Kona, Spiritfarer, and many, many more.

Google announcing Stadia at GDC 2019 -  Asif Khan, #1 Google Stadia Influencer on the Internet

My favorite Google Stadia moment was the announcement at GDC 2019, before the Death Stranding. So many people were certain that a megacorporation like Google would easily stomp out smaller players like Sony and Nintendo. In fact, many console makers' stocks fell in the days around Google's Stadia reveal. Their vision that they laid out in 2019 at GDC was truly inspired, but the service was marred with a number of fumbles at launch.

Having to pay a subscription and buy games on top of that with ephemeral access to your content was not that appealing to many players out there. Stadia did have some highlights. It was a serviceable place to play Destiny 2, and Octopath Traveler was available. So there's that.

I declared myself the Number One Google Stadia Influencer on the Internet during the later stages of the platform's three years of existence. I gained several followers who believed I was some kind of cloud gaming evangelist, and well, I am. I love the idea of what Google Stadia accomplished and tried to be, but I also know that Google killed iGoogle, which was their best thing outside of search and maps. Anyone remember Wave? Buzz?

Anyway, thanks to everyone who worked on Google Stadia, your contributions to cloud-based gaming platforms will never be forgotten... by Microsoft, and Amazon... and probably Apple. GGs, Stadia.

Failed Potential - Steve Tyminski, Knew this guy who knew a guy who had StadiaMan Ray from Spongebob Squarepants facepalmingSource: Nickelodeon / Paramount

What is my favorite Google Stadia memory? It’s a bittersweet day in the industry when an idea that had potential doesn’t work out in the end for one reason or another. I have a few memories about the Stadia, none of which are about me actually playing it. The first was seeing the Stadia in ads before almost every YouTube video I would watch and my first thought was, “This thing isn’t out yet.” They were telling you what early buyers would get access to and they still couldn’t get people to buy it.

My next memory was when I used to work on a podcast with my friends and one of our friends told us he had got the Stadia. It became a running gag on the podcast that I would mess with him about being one of the few people to grab it. It would be an answer to everything regardless of the topic. The fact that my memories about Google Stadia have nothing to do with playing it should tell you all you need to know about how things went for it.

Cyberpunk 2077 actually running well on Stadia - Donovan 'Dono' Erskine, Doesn’t even work here anymoreJohnny SilverhandSource: Shacknews via CD Projekt RED

The catastrophic launch of Cyberpunk 2077 felt like the one time that Google Stadia showed its true utility and garnered widespread praise. With CD Projekt RED’s highly ambitious RPG being nigh unplayable on Xbox One and PS4 at the time of its launch, those without a decent gaming PC were essentially out of luck. Enter Google Stadia. The video game streaming service allowed users without access to high-end hardware the ability to experience Cyberpunk 2077 for all it had to offer. Friends and people I knew around the gaming industry opted to play Cyberpunk on Stadia, and went on to roll credits while playing on the platform. There were of course still obstacles for those with mediocre internet connection, but it provided a clear idea of where Stadia could find its audience at some point down the road.

There you have it, Shackers, our fondest memories of Google Stadia. What are your thoughts on Google’s foray into the cloud-gaming space? How do you think the scene will change now that Google is throwing in the towel or do you think the company will come swinging in with something else? Let us know in the comment section below.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

Powered by Blogger.