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Google announced Stadia in 2019, and from the start, there were concerns about the company’s commitment. Google has a reputation for neglecting and then killing services after people have become dependent on them, and Stadia seemed like a prime candidate for the Google graveyard. And now, one tracker of Google’s fickleness claims the end is nigh for Stadia.
The aptly named Killed By Google is a website that enumerates all of Google’s canceled products, and a recent tweet is causing waves. The post, visible below, includes a message alleging that Google has planned to discontinue Stadia by the end of this summer. The report claims that users will get 30-60 days of notice, and the final month of the service will be free. That would be an extremely aggressive timeline that would no doubt upset the small but dedicated Stadia community.
Google has since said that Stadia is not shutting down, but is that the last word? While the original report is completely unsourced, it has the ring of truth simply based on how Google has run Stadia so far. At launch, Google promised unique features and first-party games that you wouldn’t be able to play anywhere else. Then, it closed its Stadia Games & Entertainment studio just a few days after launching its first games and praising the staff. This frantic, ham-fisted approach to developing the product makes even this unverified claim seem plausible. Plus, we know Stadia’s subscriber numbers are falling far short of Google’s goals.
— Killed by Google 🌻🇺🇦 (@killedbygoogle) July 28, 2022
Perhaps Stadia’s biggest problem is a lack of compelling content. It rarely gets AAA games, and those it does get are often late. As this problem has become more obvious, Google seems to be moving away from Stadia as a consumer service. It recently reframed what Stadia means to the company: it’s no longer the core of a gaming platform but simply the first product to use Google’s Immersive Stream technology. It has since licensed Immersive Stream to other companies (like AT&T) to run cloud gaming experiences. In some cases, these are games you can’t even get in the Stadia store.
Given what we’ve seen so far, it’s no wonder people are ready to believe Killed By Google. Regardless of whether this comes to be, Google is getting to the point that it has to do something with Stadia. Stadia has blundered its way through the pandemic, offering little in the way of compelling content. Google can give away all the indie games it wants, but you can’t build a service entirely on that when Xbox Game Pass, Luna, and GeForce Now exist.