If you hadn't already heard, Google has shut down internal development on Google Stadia games. The platform released in 2019 was promoted as an alternative to gaming on PCs and consoles through streaming. Many thought that Stadia might only have a place in the gaming hardware industry if it developed games exclusive to Google, however, this announcement has halted development of games in Google's two internal studios before the devs even had a chance to release a single title.
Although Google apparently has plans to outsource developments in the future, gamers are taking this as the first sign that the platform is definitely in decline - as Google might have predicted with a marketing campaign before the Stadia's announcement.
A Reddit post on r/Gaming has been reminding everyone that Google originally teased the announcement of the Stadia by comparing it to failed products. A pop-up display shows a progression of three old game relics often referred to as failures before teasing the release of the Stadia.
The first is the Dreamcast from Sega, which is perhaps the most successful out of the three. Released in 1998-1999 the Dreamcast seriously underperformed, partly because it was quickly in competition with the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube - all consoles that went on to become a different level of legendary. The Dreamcast only lasted a couple of years before being discontinued and was Sega's final attempt at being a big player in console hardware.
Next is the Power Glove from Nintendo. If you're familiar with current Nintendo products, you'd know the company often does gimmicky designs really well. The Wii was a bit of a gimmick, as well as the Switch. Both novelties in design, but have succeeded from unusual concepts that other brands can't pull off. However, the Power Glove didn't do as well. It's like a really bad PitBoy but for just two games on the NES. Notoriously hard to use and ridiculous looking, it's now only good for slapping an enemy across the face with to challenge them to a gaming duel.
And finally, there is the game ET. This title is legendary in how terrible it's rumoured to be. A rushed mess of a game that was so awful and unplayable, a lot of the stock was dumped in the desert to hide away from the world.
So why, oh why, did Google decide to compare the Stadia to these products? Was it foreshadowing? Was it perhaps a recognition that the platform looked unusual from the offset? Who knows. But now that the Stadia situation has become rather depressing, it seems to have completed the cycle of products on that display from all those years ago.
There is no doubt that eventually streaming gaming content will become a normal part of the industry. Imagine taking a trip for a night somewhere for work or for a personal commitment and just whipping out a controller and your phone to continue your playthrough of Horizon Zero Dawn? That is certainly a possible reality we can get to in a matter of years. But right now, it doesn't look like Stadia is going to be the one to get us there.
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