(Update: A recent report suggested Google Stadia is running out of steam).
The future has looked questionable for Google Stadia since it announced the closure of its two first-party studios last February, and a year on things aren’t looking much brighter, according to a new report from Business Insider (opens in new tab).
The report explains that the “Stadia consumer platform” has been “deprioritized” to such a degree that it now only takes up about 20% of the Stadia division’s time. Instead, the team is said to be working on a white-label streaming service for others under the name of “Google Stream.”
Will it have more luck there than it did with the consumer platform? Well, Business Insider reports some early success with partner companies like AT&T (for a browser-based version of Batman: Arkham Knight), Capcom and the recent Sony acquisition, Bungie. It’s even responsible for the technology behind Peloton’s Lanebreak game (opens in new tab).
That’s obviously good news for Google, but not for those who hoped Stadia would be an inexpensive rival to the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. While the report explains that employees are still sourcing titles for Stadia, it doesn’t sound promising for anyone looking to make Stadia their sole gaming destination.
"The key thing was that they would not be spending the millions on the big titles," a former employee is quoted as saying. "And exclusives would be out of the question."
Google Stadia in 2022
As the report spread and “Stadia” trended on Twitter, the official Stadia account sprung into action with an indirect defence. “If you hear one thing, hear this: The Stadia team is working really hard on a great future for Stadia and cloud gaming,” it tweeted, before promising (opens in new tab) “more feature goodness” in the future.
If you hear one thing, hear this: The Stadia team is working really hard on a great future for Stadia and cloud gaming. We hope you agree, and we know the proof is in the playing.February 5, 2022
Not exactly a denial, and while the account backed up the “great future” with the promise to bring “more than 100 titles” to Stadia in 2022, it’s important to note that this isn’t an advancement on 2021’s haul.
Last year, Google made a similar pledge for Stadia, and while there were a few high-profile titles in the mix, there was an awful lot of filler in there, too. Both in the form of middling games and those which were great but showing their age.
We shall have to see what Google provides for Stadia subscribers in the months ahead, but if the titles are uninspiring, then the streaming service won’t have a “great future,” no matter what the corporate comms maintain.