Why did Google Stadia fail?

We recently brought you a report about the shock shutdown of Google Stadia. While Google are making good on their promise to refund their customers, it still paints a worrying picture for the future of cloud gaming.

Stadia is just one of the hugely ambitious cloud gaming projects that has fallen by the wayside in recent months. While cloud gaming was supposed to be the future of video gaming, Stadia has followed the likes of early prototypes like OnLive in simply not living up to the hype. So what is it about these cloud gaming platforms that is failing to work? Here are a few theories.

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People love their hardware

No one is going to doubt that cloud gaming is a great theory. After all, lots of people like using websites like SweepsCash to remotely play casino games for free, so why shouldn’t the same thing work for triple-A games releases?

The first thing to understand is that millions of people have already invested a lot of money in next-gen consoles and high-powered PC gaming rigs. As such, they are happy with what they’ve got and would be unlikely to abandon their hardware just to jump onboard with the latest fad.

No real demand

While cloud gaming is an interesting proposal, it doesn’t really have a valid application just yet. Cloud gaming would probably come into its own when being played away from home, but it’s hard to imagine too many dedicated gamers loading up something like Horizon Forbidden West on a lunch break or on the commute into work.

Lack of stable internet

It doesn’t matter how good your internet connection appears to be as chances are that you’ll be hit with some kind of buffering sooner or later. This simply doesn’t happen if you’re playing offline from your gaming hardware. But cloud gaming demands a fast and stable internet connection to function properly which is hard enough to get at home, and virtually impossible if you are out and about.

Pricing problems

There is also the issue with the fact that pricing strategies at cloud gaming platforms don’t make much sense. After all, why would you want to pay the same price to stream a game as own it outright? This was the approach that Stadia took to its pricing and it clearly didn’t work. Sure, there a lot of money to recoup from the development of big games releases, but you can’t expect people to pay a lot of money upfront for something that they don’t actually own.

No culture

Everyone knows that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have their own cultures that have taken decades to cultivate. Thanks to flagship titles like Mario and The Last of Us, it has meant that gamers are buying into something much more than basic entertainment. So the modest release of cloud gaming platforms didn’t really excite gamers and there was no big games to announce the arrival of this new kind of technology.

Why there’s still hope for cloud gaming

Ultimately the concept of cloud gaming is still too good for the collapse of Stadia to ruin everything. Alongside the ability to play from anywhere with an internet connection, there’s something deeply attractive about not having to wait for updates or patches to download everytime that you want to enjoy a standard gaming session.

It’s debatable which of the remaining cloud gaming platforms could take this concept into the mainstream. But with major players like Amazon Luna still in the market, it’s hoped that cloud gaming should take off sooner or later.