Google to shut down Stadia, its streaming game service

I’m currently taking guitar lessons online, and my teacher uses Google Duo. I had never heard of it before, and I’ve literally never used it with anyone or anything else. I have no idea why he chose to use it, although it seems to work well enough. But it seems like they’re already folding it into another service called Google Meet, and I’m sure the endpoint of Google ditching both services is inevitable.

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There’s that, too - in this case I wasn’t thinking of the latency/bandwidth issues, but the fact that you need a bunch of hardware to run (and stream) the games, located semi-close to all the players, that you can scale up or down (and not have it sit idle when users aren’t playing games) in order for the operation to be remotely economically feasible. Anyone running a game streaming service who isn’t Amazon/Google/Microsoft will probably end up using one of them, and thus Amazon/Google/Microsoft would seem to have the advantage when supplying those services themselves.

Which I guess is why Microsoft’s game streaming has been at least semi-successful? And it looks like the other (at least semi-successful) cloud gaming, Playstation, who are using Microsoft as well?

Ah, now there’s the fuckery I expect from the game industry! On the one hand, I’m highly sympathetic to the developers who are being totally screwed over by this, I’m sure, but on the other hand, I sort of feel like they should have known better after it became clear that Google were backing off from committing their own funds to this project a year ago, and the general context of Google’s history with cutting off services…

They’ve got a few popular apps (Google Docs, Google Drive etc.) but sometimes when they can’t get something to work they’ll just buy a competitor’s version outright (YouTube).

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Never played Stadia. Amazon offered me a demo of Luna, but the lag was horrible.

Both developers I worked for during the Stadia period knew enough to steer clear of it, but I think I get why some developers, especially small ones, dove in.

When the iPhone dev kit came out, a few wacky eccentrics put out games for it. Nobody else paid much attention. Those wacky eccentrics became multi-millionaires overnight. The gold rush was enormous. The canonical example was Trism. That guy made five million dollars in the first month. He retired immediately and started travelling around the world.

These events marked the modern game industry forever. This was an Atari-2600-level gold rush, but this generation of developers hadn’t seen one before, and this time the money went to people instead of corporations.

From then on, every time a new platform came out, a bunch of small developers piled in, hoping for that next iPhone gold rush. They went all in on Occulus, OnLive, Apple TV, Ouya, Stadia, and many others. Of course, the gold rush never happened again and probably won’t for another generation, but hope springs eternal.

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“Hear me out - we get the funding and we can buy Physics!”

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I still remember thinking what a good idea Google Wave was. It was basically Slack 4 years before Slack was launched. It was discontinued 1 year before Slack launched…

Oh, I understand the motivation. Even if one isn’t looking for a lottery, the sorry state of game sales means that being an early developer on a new platform can increase the chances of just staying afloat.
I’m just naturally cautious and generally pretty skeptical of new platforms - the iPhone/iPad were, from the second they were announced, pretty obvious winners in terms of game development, but they were exceptions. I’ve seen enough failed platforms that I need convincing that anything new will have the sales or support to be worthwhile, but some platforms have some pretty obvious red flags. I saw Ouya, for example, and just said, “LOL, no.” (It was being sold in a way that was so obviously completely developer-hostile.) Stadia didn’t look so bad at first, but after they shut down the studios it was clear they weren’t making the necessary commitments for it to survive (so even if Google management weren’t giving up on it then, which I think they were, it was inevitable). I guess the terms Google was apparently giving to developers was good enough that they could convince themselves to overlook the red flags.

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I don’t think the iPhone was so obvious when it first came out. It’s easy to forget how alien it was at the time. State of the art for mobile gaming at the time was J2ME/BREW, platforms which were frankly a joke even in their prime. Mobile gaming didn’t exist yet and nobody predicted iOS gaming would explode like it did. If you did, great, you should have gone in. The Trism guy and a few others were outliers in this respect. You lumped in iPad, which came along much much later, and by then it was clear mobile gaming in general and iOS in particular were going to be a big deal. You may be blurring your recollections of the attitude of the time with what we know now, because at the time they announced the dev kit in 2007, nobody took iPhone seriously as a gaming platform. People mocked how bad touch would be for games and how slow the GPU was for the pixel density, just for starters.

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Yes! Google Wave is the epitome of that culture.!

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I had no idea iPhone early developers would achieve that kind of financial success, but I did see it as a viable and potentially exciting gaming platform. Still feels like a lot of interesting aspects are under-explored. (And although I’ve flirted with mobile development a couple times, I’ve always ended up coming to the conclusion that it’s a very exciting area - for someone else to work in.)

Initially I did wildly underestimated the potential market size, and what that would mean. Though I have to say, in the end, I was probably overly optimistic about mobile games, given the toxic dynamics that have arisen. When iPad came out, I thought, “This will be absolutely massive for gaming,” whereas with the iPhone, I thought, “This could be pretty cool.” I think I had that backwards…

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