Google announced today that IT's shutting down Stadia, its cloud gaming service. While IT came as a surprise to many, IT also makes sense. Stadia has some great games, but IT's not cost-effective, and IT suffers from video compression, input latency, and other network issues. You have to pay full price to buy games on the platform, you have to pay additional subscription fees to play games in 4K resolution, and Google's own Stadia game development studio was hastily shut down after just a year.
It's so typical of Google that there's even a website dedicated to the products Google has killed. That kind of assertiveness may be one reason why Google is now worth more than $1 trillion, but it's not good news for some consumers and game developers. Although they will get a refund, Stadia users will lose access to their games and will lose the corresponding game progress archive. Meanwhile, game developers who make Stadia versions of their games are wasting their time, and PC Gamer reports that a number of Stadia developers on Twitter are saying that they've only just learned that Stadia is closing.
Here's how the game industry reacted to the news:
"The developers at Stadia have created a development platform that has allowed us to continue to create and evaluate Destiny 2 at home over the past few years," said Joe Blackburn, Destiny 2 game director. I'm sure it's been a tough day for a lot of people. Thank you for helping us with the game."
"It's fair to say that Google Stadia has been in dire straits over the past three years and has had to deal with: - The global pandemic has forced people to turn to online entertainment," said Aadit Doshi, a veteran game program at Rocksteady, the developer of the Batman: Arkham series. - Shortage of graphics cards and game consoles, leading to high demand for alternatives. It would be nice if they could enter the market at a better time."
According to Brandon Sheffield, Necrosoft's developer revenue share for Stadia is "the best of all cloud gaming services," even though it's a joke to many. The news that their game Hyper Gunsport is set to launch on the platform in November and will recoup their development costs is a huge blow to them.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, said he believes that Google Stadia is a very solid and positive effort and supports a lot of developers. He said it was a shame the service was shut down.
Tom Vian, co-founder of UK developer Tangle Tower's studio SFB Games, said Tangle Tower was due to launch on Stadia in two days, and that The Verge's report of its impending closure was The first he'd heard of it. Rebecca Heinmean of the Frozen Legend Studio also commented that they were working on the project. There's also a game coming out on the platform on November 1, which has just been announced.
"A part of me feels bad for Google's amazing move with Stadia," said Rami Ismail, a game developer and consultant. When Google first approached me about the project, long before it was released, they had a lot of cool ideas. But the conservative approach, the lack of trust in developers and the absolute lack of investment -- Google killed it."
Mike Rose, director of the No More Robots studio, which recently launched the simulation-management game Let's Build a Zoo, also expressed his shock, saying, "Oh my God... We have a game coming out on Stadia in November. Who wants to guess if Google will refuse to pay the money they owe us for this?"
PC Gamer has reached out to Google for comment on what exactly this news means for those studios that have Stadia game deals with Google (such as Mike Rose) or studios that independently develop Stadia versions of their games, and whether Google will compensate them.
IT House understands that for Stadia users, the service will continue to operate until Jan 18, 2023. On the subject of saving game progress, Google said it might be reserved for "some games that support cross-platform play on other platforms," such as Destiny 2. However, "for most games," Google says keeping the game archive "will not be possible."