At least, not right now it isn’t.
Google Stadia’s launch is right around the corner, and it’s bringing up the usual question “Who is this even for?.” Stadia isn’t anything new really, it’s a streaming service meant to take out the need for consoles in the home and for playing on the go.
But with a really lackluster launch lineup with only one exclusive game, and the recent announcement that a number of the Founder Edition features will not be available at launch like 4K and family share, it seems like the launch of Stadia is dead before it ever even began. So why would Google continue on with this mediocre launch? You would think that they’d see how this launch isn’t going to be profitable for them in any big way so why continue pushing on as opposed to a delayed launch to iron out existing issues? Well that answer is simple: It’s Google. Google isn’t exactly new to launching products without an audience. Before the kinks were ironed out in their competitors versions, Google attempted a self-driving car project in 2017 to compete with Uber and it’s self-driving car service, started in 2015. Google is very much a key competitor in the early-adoption market. So in a time where every company with any amount content is making it’s own streaming service, or game streaming service (Such as Apple with Apple Arcade) it makes sense Google would want to be prepared for later on when these types of projects become mainstream.
Google is among the top companies in the world, it’s safe to say that they have money lying around to spare. Google doesn’t need to generate profit on Stadia, the reason being because streaming games as a service isn’t profitable yet. It’s like buying a freezer when you don’t have much food to put in it, at some point you’ll need that freezer. And at some point streaming games will be much more widely used, and Google will be prepared by having Stadia at the ready to capitalize.
A better question to ask about Stadia would be when will it be good? Well that’s a hard thing to guess, but it seems likely to at least happen. A previous attempt at streaming was the service OnLive, which launched back in 2010, was the most notable game streaming company at the time. OnLive was a decent look into the future of streaming, and if you had a fantastic internet connection it would run smoothly enough, but due to changes in company management and a selling off of assets to Sony Entertainment the company closed its doors in 2015. Sony is another competitor in the game streaming market, and the most logical conclusion for its buying of OnLive assets was to bring in people to improve their own service. As of right now, streaming games in 2019 is much more popular than the early 2010’s but even so it’s still not much of a large presence. When it comes to gaming, new types of hardware or services tend to take a while to gain traction. The biggest proof of this is VR gaming, which has certainly become a notable industry but isn’t as massive as was it was expected to be by many devs. No matter how useful or interesting, it still comes down to a snowball effect for these projects, with a small stream of early-adopters leading the charge.
Stadia isn’t going to be a must have at launch, and it most likely won’t be months from now either. It’s definitely not something you need to buy, and it doesn’t offer anything you can’t get already on other platforms for the most part. No, it’s just a Google project meant to keep them in the running against other companies who specialize or have better understanding of streaming. Even if Stadia never picks up steam and it ends up a total flop, Google will be fine. They’ll just reallocate assets and attempt another project or wait for some other new trend to enter into. I would recommend waiting a long time before buying Stadia, waiting to see how it grows, and maybe consider it down the line along with the other big game streaming services. It’s not like there aren’t games to buy in the meantime, and plenty of ways to play them. But do you think I’m wrong? Do you think Stadia is the next big thing? Or do you think it’s just another subscription to add to the three page packet of subscriptions you already have? Leave a comment if you wanna share your own take on the future of Stadia.