Google has quite the firefighting job on its hand with Stadia. The game streaming service launched (terribly) on November 19th, 2019, and Google has managed to mess it up every step of the way since.
Stadia is now over two months old and there’s still no 4K browser support, no phone support outside of Google Pixel mobiles, no family sharing, old versions of games, no free Stadia base version, or wireless support for the Stadia controller through a PC.
To say Google seems unprepared with the steps required to make a splash in the games industry would be quite the understatement. Case in point - It’s now been 41 days since a single game has been released on the service, and not a single new game has been announced during this time-frame either. Emphasising this point, there have been more than 1300 games released on Steam during this window.
It’s all a bit of a mess, to be honest, and we’re coming up to the end of the three-month gratis period thrown in for early adopters, after which they’ll be expected to pay $10/month to continue accessing the service. Stadia has reached crunch time.
A small bone has been thrown the way of Stadia users’ way by means of a new community updated though. Once again, google has promised over 120 games on Stadia in 2020, including more than 10 Stadia-exclusive games in the first half of the year. Oddly, though, Google hasn’t announced what a single one of these games even is.
Google has also promised support for wireless gaming on the web, more Assistant functionality and additional Android phones are right around the corner. In-game achievements are now functional (although only viewable on the web), while there are also a couple of partnerships with BT in the UK and Verizon in the US for fibre/Stadia deals. Lastly, next month’s ‘free’ Pro games will be Metro: Exodus, and Google Stadia’s sole exclusive - Gylt.
Tepid, would perhaps be the best way to describe this update. With competition in cloud gaming set to heat up considerably over the next few months, Google is going to have to do a whole lot better at communicating the benefits of Stadia to a wider audience. Like it or not, a ton of gaming boils down to tribalism and brand loyalty, however this is dressed up, and Google Stadia has done precious little to win over any sort of loyal subscriber base.