Monday , April 12 2021

What happened, Google Stadia?

Whas the hat passed, Google Stadia? It all started so promising, right? Lots of gentle shots of sleek loft apartments and people with incredibly white teeth smiling, who keep a check on the way no player in world history has had a head. Very well-groomed fingers caressing the spring-free thumbs, placed right in front of flawless flat screens and a dull but tasteful living door decoration.

And then there was that launch trailer.

Well, I call it a trailer, but it really was kind of an attack, right? A visual, auditory attack on the senses. Once metaphorical in the crotch full of so many offensive stereotypes about what players are (how they are believed to behave), it’s hard to know which part is more offensive. Is it stoner-dude language? “Funny” visual jokes? It is Google’s merit that in 2019 of our lord, even Found an advertising agency so amusingly out of touch and willing to write such a cynical and vacant attempt to appeal to “The Gamerz”; you know, the unwashed masses with body odors and addictions to energy drinks.

And then there’s this famous slogan: “It’s just the newest gaming platform, absurd from logic, absurd from the mind and absurd from the earth! Forget the boxes. Forget about consoles. Only your games (your screens) and the electric air. And this electric air is … STADIUM! ”

Google Stadia driver
Google Stadia driver. Credit: Google

A bit critical, it turns out Stadia isn’t any of those things. It does not challenge logic. It’s not annoying. That is, it is true that it is a bit absurd, for sure: any company, even megacorp Google, is based on the absurdity of thinking that any country in the world has the Internet infrastructure to support this idea – and the less you say about “electric air,” the better.

And the funniest of all? I bought it.

Now, before doing OD in schadenfreude – yes, yes, it’s not fun, Vik bought the drum “electric air” – I still think idea of Stadia is pretty fucked up. Beyond the logistical issues, the hilarious inflated prices of the Stadia Games store and the fact that by the time Google pulls the plug you will no longer be left in your higher priced Stadia library other than your rubber memories. idea having instant access to games (games that don’t require upgrades or patches or installation time) is still great.

That said, I had no illusions about what I was buying. I didn’t think I would be sitting in my living room and broadcasting perfect games for 4K pixels without complaining. And to be honest, it works much better than my (certainly low) expectations, mostly because my fiber connection is optimally optimal.

And while Stadia has gently revised its roadmaps in the two years since its (disastrous) release and now offers a small selection of classic and new, albeit non-functional, versions that require players to pay seventy quid for a game you don’t even get to download and save on a hard drive somewhere, let alone own physically … Well, it’s a tough sale.

Little nightmares 2
Little Nightmares 2. Credit: Tarsier Studios

Join Stadia Pro now for £ 9 a month and you’ll have a choice of 29 “free” games. Although it includes news like the deliciously gloomy Small nightmares II, compare it to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. While it’s more expensive (the latest season ticket currently costs £ 11), it includes the £ 7 Xbox Live Gold charge, plus EA Play (£ 5 PVP) and your selection of 512 games. And that also includes free access, on the first day, to Microsoft’s own games.

I suspect that if Google had done what we all expected and offered a generous library of games in a single subscription (like Netflix, but for video games), perhaps we would have forgiven the electric air thing more. The problem is that since the company is closing all of its own development studios less than two years after the service’s launch, you have to wonder how long Google will keep Stadia before it’s also offline.

You see, Stadia is not a new concept. A service called OnLive tried to launch the same in 2009. By establishing a staff that seemed strangely useful to Stadia, it was limited to 2012 before firing all its staff unceremoniously. It came back to life briefly in 2014 before finally closing in 2015, moving most of its assets to Sony Computer Entertainment.

At the time, experts thought the vision was fantastic, but the infrastructure around it, so of course, at the hands of the company itself, disappointed it. It’s moving fast for ten years, though, and Google seems to have found itself in the same place with Stadia, until employee layoffs a couple of years after the launch.

So: is it over for Stadia? Not yet, no, but I suspect the money makers are getting nervous and someone, somewhere, is yelling in a cool glass boardroom and empty promises. But the technology that fuels the service is still in its infancy, there are still many lessons to be learned and we can only hope that Internet connections will continue to be faster and more stable, making the dream of live video game streaming a reality. more sustainable. .

But the factor in Google’s propensity to kill its own innovations, and it’s not uncommon for Stadia fans (and yes, there are) to be nervous. If all promises are nothing but hot air, it doesn’t matter if it’s “electric” or not, right?

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