The Google Stadia cloud gaming service did not get off to the greatest of starts when it launched last year. Between its lackluster game offerings and its poor online performance, it became the placeholder for a number of running jokes from gaming fans. However, since that time, Google has sort of bounced back, with additional titles and improvements to its Pro service.
That said, it apparently wasn’t enough for the company to consider making its own games. It recently confirmed the news that it would be shutting down its SG&E (Stadia Games and Entertainment) divisions, moving everyone from its internal development studios over to new positions within the company. For that matter, Jade Raymond, who joined the crew after working on Assassin’s Creed and other projects, has already departed.
So what went wrong? While Google didn’t give too many specifics, it likely lost a good amount of money trying to effectively launch its service. And while it is picking up steam, it’s not quite enough to keep up with gangbuster sellers like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
That said, the Stadia isn’t dead. It’s just going through a refocus. The system will still be home to various third-party titles, including new releases; and Google will work closely with these studios to make their games high performers on the cloud platform.
“We’re committed to the future of cloud gaming and will continue to do our part to drive this industry forward. Our goal remains focused on creating the best possible platform for gamers and technology for our partners, bringing these experiences to life for people everywhere,” the company noted in a statement.
So now the real question is…what’s next? Well, there are a couple of things that the company should consider…
Improve The Pro Service
As much better as the Pro subscription program has gotten, it still has a ways to go when it comes to offering a great deal of variety. Users that pay $9.99 for the monthly service do get a few games, but they’re far lesser in count than either Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Now, which go for a similar price.
So how to solve the problem? Easy – offer more games. Stadia has a backlog of titles that it’s currently offering for sale. But what it needs to do is give them up for free to make their subscription set-up even more worthwhile. Otherwise, it’ll run dead last, especially compared to Game Pass, which runs like a dream and has consistent additions that gamers want and love.
This is gonna sound crazy, since you don’t really own the games on the Stadia service, but rather their licenses. That said…why not give away some freebies? You want people to enjoy the hardware right out of the box, and without having to roll their eyes over having to sign up for a membership. So why not offer some free games?
Destiny 2 and a few of its expansions are free with the Pro service, but that’s not really enough. Google needs to go all out here and offer something of substantial value to buyers, to remind them that Stadia is worth it. The Tomb Raider trilogy comes to mind, as does the racing game GRiD and even Borderlands 3. Offering these for free provide a sweet value to a service like this.
Just something to think about, Google.
Attract More Developers
Finally, the service just needs more games. Period. That’s it. But in order to get those games, developers and publishers should be contacted.
There are already a few that are working on the Stadia and don’t mind providing their games and servers in spades. But now the company really needs to dig in and grab more. Maybe use some of that Google money to offer exclusivity deals on certain titles, like bonus costumes or maybe even special DLC. Without it, again, Google goes into the also-ran category, instead of being a contender.
The Google Stadia service could be a winner with a better approach, especially one that’s gamer-centric. Without it, the company could continue to have problems – and that’s the last thing it needs right now.
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