As one of the leading tech giants, Google, boasts a net worth surpassing $1 trillion thanks to lucrative platforms like YouTube, Android, and its titular search engine that started it all. But not all of the company’s ventures were successful and the latest one Google Stadia could be its next failure.

That’s a shame considering the potential that Stadia has in the streaming market. The real problem stems from the service’s inner workings that make little sense to the consumer who already has plenty of alternatives that are way better in comparison.

As such, Stadia became an unwilling victim led to the maw by a dumb witted Google. But it didn’t have to be this way.

The potential of Google Stadia

Initially, Google Stadia was billed as a game-changer. It was the company’s take on cloud gaming, a rising craze that allows anyone to get in on high priced AAA gaming, from anywhere in the world, regardless of budgets and/or specific hardware requirements. Companies would set up server farms to store and stream the games and all that was required from the consumers’ end was fast internet from an ISP and monthly payments for both services.

Initially, the service offered a lineup of one hundred licensed games--some even being exclusive to the platform--streaming at 4K resolution and up to 120 frames per second.

However, Google went further to establish Stadia’s place in an already saturated market with its biggest selling point called “State Share.” This patented feature allowed a user to seamlessly transition, from watching someone play a game via a live stream on YouTube to playing it on their own device, even starting off at the same point being shown.

The feature, alone, made Stadia seem like a force to be reckoned with. But the icing on the cake was the additional launch window, Google’s Chrome browser--an app that was already on every device besides those designated for Stadia’s own app. Virtually no device was out of Stadia’s reach which was Google's plan all along.

The Google Stadia: from golf to glitter

To that point, it seemed the new cloud gaming service was everything consumers wanted. However, once they took the plunge and saw what lied underneath, the gold quickly turned to glitter. The service had two major issues that hadn’t come to light until after many had partaken. The first was pricing.

When Stadia was launched in November 2019, it immediately began driving consumers away with its lucrative pricing model. It offered two tiers and, although a free model offering 1080p rendered gaming was included, its Pro model offering 4K rendered gaming was priced upward to $10 per month.

Stadia also offered dedicated hardware in a bundle. The Stadia Founders pack had included a Chromecast Ultra and its very own controller along with three months of Stadia Pro subscription for free--all priced at $129.

However, these weren’t necessary since Stadia could be launched from other devices and was compatible with other controllers.

But the real deal-breaker, for most, was the audacious decision to slap a price tag on the games being offered. These games were neither those packed on discs and sold over a counter nor the digital ones sold over the internet. Yet, Google begged to differ and expected Stadia users to instantly get in line for them. When it all added up, Google Stadia only stands out as the priciest among cloud gaming services to the consumer.

Then there’s the second issue that turned out to be technical. Some of the games that were being offered were not being streamed at the correct resolutions and frame rates as advertised.

Certain games that were meant to stream at 4K resolution were instead streaming at 1440p or 1080p resolutions. Those games also struggled to reach at least 30 fps--far below what was initially promised. Other issues included lost connectivity, lag, and missing textures.

A predictable predicament

Currently, Stadia is almost a year old and there have been several updates made to the service ranging from new games to new features. But the cloud gaming service hasn’t changed all that much thanks to Google’s reluctance to fix the real underlying problems. As a result, consumer retention is failing and publishers are seeing little return on their investments. But Google doesn’t seem to care. Its crop field of F-words lies barren on this one.

Again, it’s really a shame since Google could have easily turned it around. In fact, the company could have simply rolled out a cloud gaming service with a standard pricing model and doubled down on the revolutionary features and game publishing deals.

Stadia’s failure is naturally expected considering Google’s history of fumbling cloud-based services. Google Photos, for example, has the potential to revolutionize online photo galleries but is held back by idiotic design choices. On the surface, it’s quite serviceable but it lacks basic design features such as alphabetical sorting, subfolders, and step undo for editing. How in 2020 does a highly successful company launch its cloud-based service as an obsolete shell outright is anyone’s guess.

In its defense, however, the tech giant’s way of doing things is highly experimental and that’s typical in the industry. It’s also the fundamental reason Google was able to join the trillionaire club. But like many companies, Google tends to come down with a case of tunnel vision and some of its experiments tend to backfire.

Stadia could end on Google Graveyard

As mentioned before, Google has had many unsuccessful ventures over the years. So many in fact that it has inspired special resource lists like the infamous Google Graveyard. This is literally a website that lists all of the services and technologies that Google has shut down following its failure. Many are predicting that Stadia will eventually land itself in a vacant grave on the list in the near future and they could be right because many of the dead services buried there have one thing in common with it: lack of innovation.

Remember, this is a trillion-dollar company and it got that way thanks to its titular search engine which ironically was the most innovative thing the company has done. This and several acquisitions of other billion-dollar companies like YouTube along the way helped Google to reach the heights it stands out now. But it’s reached a point where it doesn’t have to shake things up anymore.

Regardless of what people think Google owes the tech market that made it a household name, the once insatiable tech giant has inadvertently turned into a massive blob due to its enormous success and there doesn’t seem to be any way to change that. That’s why Stadia is failing. The company doesn’t have to go all out to provide a revolutionary service. Rather, it will just chase the trends long enough to make sizable returns for its shareholders. The diminishing returns quickly follow but to these companies, it is what is.