Stadia the Technology? Awesome. Stadia the Service? Not So Much.

My family owns a little place just over the border in Wisconsin. That’s where my parents met and fell in love, and when my dad’s company got bought some years back, they used the surprise windfall to buy a small place to call their own. It’s not big, but it is homey. It’s within walking distance to a nearby lake, but specifically without a view of the lake, because, as my dad often said, “Why would I pay extra zeros for a house with a lake view when I can just walk around the damn corner?”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5yzv8/stadia-the-technology-awesome-stadia-the-service-not-so-much

Based on everything publicly available and some other stuff I’d heard, this was about what I expected. The minimum viable product for something like this is probably “It works just fine on a private wired or stable wireless connection,” and it came in hot enough that Google could manage only that for now.

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Everything but the tech of Stadia seems ill-conceived, from what it sounds like the games run well and input lag is only noticeable on the most dexterity demanding games, but the library is weak and there’s no connectivity with previous libraries unless games, like Destiny 2, allow cross saves to some degree.

I’ve been using Playstation Remote Play, which actually works decently even with my Ps4’s shoddy wireless antenna streamed to a wi-fi at work, there’s occasionally noticeable input lag and artifacting, but it’s got any game I can already play on my Ps4. Stadia would’ve fared better partnering with something like Steam / Epic or PC Game Pass.

As it stands I’ll personally wait for whatever the alternative comes from existing stores, I won’t deny this will probably be somewhat of a focus for platforms in an increasingly digital environment, and when it works I love the concept.

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I could see this kind of streaming tech being really compelling when paired with something like Xbox Game Pass. As it is, not so much. The whole concept of owning a digital product is already so nebulous that this is just a bridge too far for me.

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And they already announced that they’ll be bringing xCloud to Game Pass (though no specifics on if there are pricing implications or exactly when it’s gonna roll out), so that’s gonna very much so be a thing.

An ever-present rumor in nerd circles is that Google’s internal incentive system is heavily oriented around launching new things. Management who oversee the launch of a major new service/product/feature get to move up to the next rung on the ladder. The steady labor of maintaining and improving existing services will get you nowhere. Assuming that’s true, and unless Stadia immediately has the sort of enormous success that makes improving it financially urgent to Google, I don’t expect it to improve all that much beyond the existing roadmap, or expand far beyond the launch regions.

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This is consistent with what I’ve heard about Google, although I heard it from the point of view of “Employees are always being asked to sign up to test out new services.” There were a few Stadia prototypes floating around in Google’s offices, but they were locked up pretty tight and details were kept pretty under wraps (although hearing details before Jason Schreier reported them was a surreal experience).

I don’t understand why they are rushing this to market like this. Even if its functional, why have your first brush with the public be your worst foot forward? They could have delayed this a year at least, just to build the hype and maybe work off the possibilities that exist.

Google hasn’t really thrown their marketing weight around this product either. This isn’t “the great new technology of the year”. Nobody seems to be on late-night TV. Disney+ has gotten the red ribbon treatment of the full Disney Empire, Stadia seems to have been pushed out the backdoor. If I weren’t hooked into the “gamer scene” through podcasts like this, I would have no idea that Stadia was even happening. I promise you, nobody on the street knows what this thing is.

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Google is heavily of the beta-first fix later mindset. Honestly, it wasn’t until maybe this year that their cloud platform started to feel like a non-beta product, and that’s been around in one form or another since 2006.

It does sound like their tech is pretty good, maybe better than Steam’s. If this whole thing falls apart but ends up with something I can run on my home PC to stream better to my local network, that’s like the best possible ending from my perspective.

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Cause the people behind it don’t actually care about the product, just getting a promotion because they did a thing.

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I assume theyre trying to get it out before people just buy the next gen consoles next year? But yeah they dont seem to be really pushing it really hard.

I’ve heard that it’s not just launching new things, but specifically disrupting existing services, which explains why for instance, Google has had 4 5 6(?) different messaging systems over the last x years on android and won’t actually focus on any one of them

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Friendship ended with Play Music. YouTube Music is my best friend now.

Google’s refusal to stick with services will be their eventual very slow undoing. I use google music every day, but if that gets turned off eventually for a YouTube service that doesn’t have half the features I want then I’m out on google for music. I’m already out on them for other media.
Stadia is similar. It’s obvious from the launch they aren’t concerned with building a long term and stable user service here. And people are going to be very upset in ten years when the money they spent buying games at full retail price on top of their monthly subscription goes away forever.

That’s a generous prediction. Stadia already seems to be dying right now. It gets five years at most as my most positive outlook.

As for Google being undone, I don’t think it will happen for decades if it happens at all simply because they’re too huge. They can afford to keep making bad services and ruining their own services because they already have such a grasp in the world of data collection and even web infrastructure. Not even Apple or Microsoft is close to having the sort of hold they do (Apple had to create their own entire ecosystem to stand a chance).

Arguably, Amazon might even be more important than Google already from an infrastructure perspective. And you could likewise argue that Facebook is more important than Google as far as people discovering new content online (and therefore for advertising).

However, for Google to go away, something really dramatic would have to happen in the smartphone industry, and I just don’t see that happening. Android is pretty well entrenched there, and it seems to be fairly insulated from the usual brand of Google fickleness, apart from the messenger shenanigans at least. (Which don’t matter since everybody is using Facebook’s messenger products anyway.)

Stadia, on the other hand, will be lucky to survive a full calendar year.

Debatable. Search algorithm is a large part of their success and Facebook is facing a similar mess of bad press other social networks have gone through - press that has basically caused Twitter to stagnant. These three companies have little reason to feud, but Google pulling ad support or search results would actually do a fair bit of damage the others can’t do to Google. You can attack Google’s weak services, but not the sheer level of infrastructure control the company has over the web, which is their actual power base.

I can see both die out before Google (though it will take a lot for Amazon to die, it would more likely take a new form).

When I said slow decline I meant pre global warming glacial. I can see this kind if behavior slowly infecting the core business and we look up in 35 years and google isn’t as dominant as they are now and we talk about them the way we talked about Microsoft at the end of Ballmer’s tenure. Making billions hand over first but in a way people forecasted as doomed.
I mean, think about a Google lead by someone who rose to power by getting stadia or YouTube music off the ground and abandoning it immediately.

And also, the ten years idea was that they’d keep the servers up long after they stopped pretending to care about the service becuase it would be more hassle to shut them down

Wanna pay an extra $10 to play Darksiders Genesis in a way that devours your bandwidth, with no discernable reason for the higher price? You’re in luck!

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Shout-out to Mark.

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