Google Stadia wasn’t really in the spotlight Since its high-profile launch in 2019. And beyond the bad news and bad reviews, it has basically disappeared from most gaming websites and YouTube channels. But gamers who have invested hundreds or even thousands of hours in Google’s video game streaming service don’t seem to care what other people think. For them, Google Stadia is the perfect solution to a hobby that they feel has become expensive, complicated, and restrictive.
For most of you reading this, Google Stadia is the cloud-based video game service that Google launched a few years ago that may or may not exist. It’s probably not something you interact with other than reading episodic stories Kotaku and other sites around How bad are things going for the streaming service. From Senior Executives Bail for reports Google is abandoning the platform entirelyStadia hasn’t had a great few years in the press, and some guys seem to absolutely hate her.
but then Three tough yearsAnd the LawsuitsAnd the studio closedStadia is still alive and kicking, and it’s still getting new features and updates. One would assume this means that some people are still paying for and using Google Stadia in 2022. And your first question would probably be…why?
Super fans of Stadia
Marco, a married father of a 16-month-old living in Europe, told me that every free minute he has is precious, and that modern consoles don’t work in his daily life.
“When I play my PS4 right now, I always have updates,” Marco said. “Although I use rest mode, sometimes I need to wait 15 minutes to play.” While that might not sound like much, to Marco it might be half his free time that night. “Update is hell,” he said.
But with Google Stadia, there are no game updates, as it is all handled on Google’s servers. There are also no big installs or downloads. I just pressed play and after a few moments the game starts and that’s it. And that speed and lack of downtime is a major factor in why so many players I’ve spoken to continue to play Stadia.
“The technology is very goodsaid Deaddog52, a Stadia player who invested 1,800 hours in the service Kotaku. “[Stadia] It starts fast and plays great. I often forget that I don’t play on local machines.”
But for Deaddog52, it’s not just Stadia’s speed that has him coming back to play day in and day out. Another big factor is how much cheaper and flexible Stadia is for him and his family compared to consoles. After years of owning and running multiple consoles, he’s tired of it all.
“When consoles are out, they are very expensive and hard to come by,” Deaddog52 said. “Then there are the disappointing consoles. Even a successful console only had about five years before it started collecting dust. Then storage space issues and frequent downloads started to bother me, but what really bothered me is the loud noise my console fan can make” .
Deaddog52 gave up playing for a few years, until a friend Stadia showed it to him shortly after its release. Liked, he got excited to play games again. And while he knows Stadia’s quality isn’t quite as good as that of a powerful PC or a new “next generation” console, the low price and ease of use for him more than make up for it.
“On top of no cost and no maintenance, I can play on any screen,” Deaddog52 said. “I will literally have three streams at the same time (me and my baby) and have no problems. For the same luxury [without Stadia] I’m going to have to spend $1,500 on hardware with controllers.”
Deaddog52, like others I’ve spoken to, hasn’t touched a console like the Nintendo Switch or PS4 since they joined Stadia. And for some, the thought of returning to traditional games worries them. In the event Stadia shuts down, some have suggested that they may try other streaming options, such as Game Pass or Amazon LunaOthers said they would reluctantly return to consoles or computers. But some players feel very attached to the Stadia ecosystem and the freedom it offers, allowing them to play anywhere online and on phones or tablets.
“Honestly, there is nothing better for me than Stadia at the moment,” Marko said.
Ravenlock, another user who has been a Stadia customer since day one, told me that while its library isn’t the best, its flexible streaming offerings are hard to beat.
“I can have my own The Sheikh’s Manuscripts Online or Fate 2 “Daily newspapers are done on any screen, at any time, without worrying about installing huge games in a bunch of places,” Ravenlock said. “The entire Stadia library is as portable as my phone, tablet, Chromecast, and everything I want to put in my bag”
The history of the destruction of Google
The elephant in the room when talking about anything related to Google is of course the tech giant Long history of stopping or terminating apps and services, just to replace it with different apps which will eventually close. However, when I asked these super fans of Stadia if they were concerned about Google pulling the plug on the streaming service, none of them seemed concerned at all. Many stuck to the idea that Google rarely shuts down paid services.
“They rarely kill projects that people have been actively paying for, and they have so many announced partnerships and plans going forward at least for the next year or so that closing them would be more embarrassing and unpleasant because of them than it would already be,” Ravenlock said.
This was a sentiment shared by nearly every Stadia player I spoke to: Google isn’t going to shut down Stadia because people are paying for it and it’s popular. To be clear: Google has shut down popular paid services and apps, Like Google Play Music, In the past. However, I spoke to more than six people and they were all confident Stadia isn’t going anywhere, even as Google appears to be underestimating the future of the service. I got the impression that some of them were so invested in Stadia that they wouldn’t even dream of a future without it.
If you’ve ever covered in the comments for a negative Stadia story or tweet, you’ve likely encountered some super-fans of Stadia who aggressively defend the service and its games against anything they consider attacks. And in my conversations with Stadia users, I’ve encountered some of this. There was little concern that I would twist their words to fit my “agenda,” while others argued that gaming sites and most players were “biased” against Stadia.
“I think a lot of [the press] He was always biased and negative about Stadia from the start,” Marco said. “No one has ever tried to explain what Stadia is. While that, [they] Focus only on the things that went wrong. But when things are good, no one is there. PlayStation launches two games on PS Plus And they write about it. Stadia releases seven games in Pro and not even one [outlet] write about it.”
Others pointed out that sites like IGN And popular YouTubers never mention Stadia when listing the gaming platforms that are released, or spend time reviewing Stadia versions of games when they are released. They argue that this is an example of how the press and influencers are trying to paint Stadia in a bad light. (The fact is that most sites including Kotakuyou don’t have the staff and resources to create continuous, customized coverage of a relatively niche platform like Stadia.)
perfect for them
However, the biggest benefit of my time talking to all of the various Google Stadia users was not that they were angry or bitter. It wasn’t that they felt neglected or mistreated. I’ve noticed a bit of doom or gloom about the service’s future, or what its streaming model might mean for digital ownership going forward. Instead, most were just happy that the service still exists and even exists in the first place, which felt like the perfect way to play games in 2022.
They didn’t want to get into discussions about the feasibility of broadcasting or about which platform would be better. No, they just wanted to talk about all the games they were playing. It’s easy to assume that the only people left playing Stadia are nerds or people who don’t play much, but it’s not hard for casual gamers who have spent thousands of hours on the service.
At this point, they know Google’s video game streaming platform isn’t going to change the world. But they don’t care. As long as they keep playing all their favorite games on any internet connected device with no downloads or other downtime, they are happy to continue investing in Stadia.
“I still play because I love serving,” Ravenlock said. “Not because I expect you to conquer the world.”
“Infuriatingly humble music trailblazer. Gamer. Food enthusiast. Beeraholic. Zombie guru.”