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Google Stadia will close soon: what went wrong in Google's "revolutionary" entry into video games

Google Stadia will close soon: what went wrong in Google's "revolutionary" entry into video games
Nacho Requena Molina

Nacho Requena Molina

In just 24 hours, Google Stadia will close the door on its video game platform. Google’s entry into the electronic entertainment industry has not been as expected, with little more than three years of life among consumers.

What has happened so that this pharaonic project, with such an amount of money invested, has not worked? where was the mistake? We discussed what went wrong in the “revolutionary” Google’s entry into video games.

A lousy subscription system

We are going to list many negative points, but perhaps this one takes the cake: the subscription system. If there are no games, there are no users. This is so basic to understand that it is not necessary to have a master’s degree from the best university on the planet. If Xbox Game Pass is succeeding among players, it is because you pay an amount per month and every 15 days you receive a large number of new titles, many of them launch. That’s it. It is not necessary to pay an additional amount or anything like that.

In Google Stadia there was a subscription model for 9.99 euros per month, that’s correct, but this was so deficient that it was far from being attractive. If you wanted to play heavyweight titles, you had no choice but to go through the cash register, i.e. pay more. In this way, the game was purchased to be enjoyed in streaming, but it was at full price and independent of the subscription (the latter contributed practically nothing, except for low-level or already outdated games).

If the Google Stadia membership had included launch games, as well as big titles, it would have been more attractive to the public. At the end of the day, it is this model that is proving to work, that is the reference to imitate. It fell by the wayside… and nobody realized it (or they did and failed to correct the mistake).

A bad self-study policy

Any company that wants to enter the world of video games must be clear about what role it will have within the industry. In the case of Google Stadia, the famous search engine wanted to position itself as a platform to play on, so this implies also having its own video games to make it attractive. You only have to look at Nintendo, PlayStation or Xbox to see the number of first party (own) productions they develop each year. They are the hook to attract.

In the specific case of Google Stadia, the company has had its own developed video games; in fact, today we have dedicated an article to the best of the platform. However, they are few and it is not that they have stood out, hence the problem we are referring to: they needed much more to stand out.

Development of exclusive games for Google Stadia has been slow, clumsy and poorly planned. In fact, the greatest proof of this that we are discussing is that just a few days before Google Stadia announced its closure, a company boss had communicated to the developer studios that everything was going well and that the projected plans were being followed. The company was going to close and its productions did not know it. Ineffable.

Communication for what?

The third point that we highlight within the failure of Google Stadia has been its communication. This is a fairly recurring aspect when talking about “mistakes” in the projects. For example, Wii U is one of the biggest failures in Nintendo’s history, to such an extent that it led the company into very serious financial problems (then Nintendo Switch came out and now they are breaking all-time revenue and profit records). With Wii U you never knew what was being sold, if a Nintendo Wii 2, an additional peripheral for Wii, if you played with the tablet, etc. This was recognized even by the Japanese themselves, who considered that the main error of the console was here.

Something similar has happened with Google Stadia. Since it was announced until its launch at the end of 2019, the platform has not been able to communicate well between the specialized press and the public. We knew that it was used to play video games in the cloud and that the infrastructure was scandalous if you had a good connection, but the subscription model was never fully understood. This is what has already been said before: the average user did not know if they had to pay for the games or if they were included in the service, not to mention that the prices were high.

To this we must add that there was no clear explanation on how to play. Did we pay for the remote control or for a peripheral? Could you play with another controller from a web browser? And so countless questions that were answered “regular” on its official website. The information must always come more chewed for the consumer.

Google Stadia closes its doors with the feeling of being an incredible technology, but to which Google never wanted to give a proper ecosystem. It is one more product in the endless list of search engine failures.

Nacho Requena Molina

Nacho Requena Molina

Periodista especializado en videojuegos y tecnología. Casi dos décadas dedicado a ello.

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