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History of video games/Platforms/Google Stadia

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History[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

The Googleplex in Mountain View, California.

Rumors of projects that would become Stadia date back to as early as 2016.[1]

Around 2018 and 2019 rumors spread of a "Project Yeti" game console made by Google, and associated with Project Stream.[2][3][4][5]

Stadia Games and Entertainment was revealed as a first party studio for the Stadia at GDC 2019.[6] Several employees leading development on Stadia had previously worked on Gaikai or PlayStation Now.[7]

Launch[edit | edit source]

Stadia logo.

Just prior to the announcement of the Stadia at GDC San Francisco in March of 2019 a gaming history exhibit featuring a number of products owned by the Video Game History Foundation was placed on display.[8] This display included important retro gaming gear on pedestals with an empty pedestal for the new product coming soon, which would be Stadia.[8] Though this generated important revenue from the foundation,[9] as all the other pedestal items were commercial failures, some saw this mix up as a bad omen.[8]

Google Stadia launched on November 19th, 2019.[10][11] There were a number of issues on launch day, though many remained hopeful for the future of the service.[12][13][11] Reportedly, the service would severely underperform expectations in the following year.[14]

In late 2019 and early 2020 many developers expressed doubts about the Stadia, including a lack of incentives to port games, small user base, and the concern that Stadia might simply be discontinued.[15][16] Reportedly major financial incentives were required to gain the support of major publishers.[14]

Adoption & Struggles[edit | edit source]

In April of 2020 the requirement to own a $129.99 kit to play Stadia was removed to help people stay at home during COVID-19.[17]

On October 1st, 2020 Stadia launched Crowd Choice, a feature allowing stream audiences to vote on the game roles of streamers.[18] Later that October, Google tried offering free demos of Stadia games to build interest in the program.[19][20]

In November of 2020 Google began allowing for cloud games to be shared between family members.[21]

Due to app store policies, the launch of Stadia for iOS devices was delayed to December 16th, 2020 and launched in the form of a web app instead of a native app.[22][23][24] As iPhone marketshare in the USA, Japan, and Canada was very high in 2020 this was an important market for mobile gaming.[25]

In January 2021 some Google employees formed a union, becoming one of the few companies in the gaming industry with a union.[26] The union had existed in secret for a year prior.[27]

On February 1st, 2021 Google announced they were winding down their Stadia Games & Entertainment (SG&E) division to focus on supporting third party games only.[28][29] This also included noted game producer Jade Raymond, the producer of the first few Assassins Creed games as well as the first Watchdogs game, also leaving Google.[28] A notable struggle to retain Terraria as a Stadia game followed just days later for unrelated reasons, though it was ultimately retained by the end of the month.[30][31][32]

In February 2022 it was widely reported that the service would switch focus from being a consumer focused service to become an enterprise focused service.[33][34][35][36]

Discontinuation[edit | edit source]

On September 29, 2022 it was announced that Google Stadia would be shuttered on January 18, 2023, and that refunds would be issued to all official Stadia related purchases.[37][38] At the time there was some concern among the gaming press about the preservation of Stadia exclusives.[39] There was also concerns over e-waste generated by the discontinuation of the service, as the wireless controllers did not support an open standard for wireless communication.[40]

After Discontinuation[edit | edit source]

Some saw the YouTube Playables platform as a successor to Stadia.[41]

As of September 2023 improved support for the Stadia controller rumble was being added to Linux kernel 6.6.[42]

Technology[edit | edit source]

A Google Data Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This photo was taken in 2017, two years before the launch of Google Stadia.

Launch specs[edit | edit source]

Note that the following specifications are per Stadia instance at launch.

At launch each Stadia server blade contained a dedicated custom x86 CPU clocked at 2.7 gigahertz with hyperthreading, AVX2, and 9.5 megabytes of L2 and L3 cache.[43][44] Stadia instances used a dedicated custom AMD GPU with 56 compute units clocked at roughly 1495 megahertz to produce a performance of 10.7 teraflops.[44][43] Stadia server blades have 16 gigabytes of HBM2 RAM with 484 gigabytes per second of throughput.[44][43][45]

Stadia servers ran a Linux based operating system.[43][44][45] The Vulkan graphics API was used.[46]

Notable Games[edit | edit source]

Major Ports[edit | edit source]

Exclusive Titles[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Stadia Promotion[edit | edit source]

Stadia Hardware[edit | edit source]

External Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hindy, Joe (18 January 2023). "RIP Google Stadia, the gaming service aimed at no one" (in en). Android Authority. https://www.androidauthority.com/rip-google-stadia-3267642/. 
  2. Pennington, Dean (22 February 2019). "Google expected to announce 'Yeti' game streaming console at GDC 2019". TechSpot. https://www.techspot.com/news/78885-google-expected-announce-yeti-game-streaming-console-gdc.html. 
  3. Roettgers, Janko (15 March 2019). "Google’s Gaming Service: Patents, Code Snippets and Other Clues Suggest Chromecast Link". Variety. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/google-gaming-service-device-chromecast-yeti-1203164633/. 
  4. Haselton, Todd (17 March 2019). "Google is about to reveal its plan to take on the $140 billion gaming industry, but experts are skeptical it has a chance" (in en). CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/17/google-yeti-gaming-announcement-expectations.html. 
  5. Amadeo, Ron (7 February 2018). "Google’s “Yeti” is reportedly a gaming hardware, streaming service beast" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/02/report-google-considering-a-game-streaming-service-console-hardware/. 
  6. Webster, Andrew (19 March 2019). "Google created its own studio for Stadia-exclusive games". The Verge. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  7. Hollister, Sean (1 February 2021). "The writing’s on the wall for Google Stadia" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/22260994/google-stadia-platform-white-label-option. 
  8. a b c "Stadia's issues were clear from the start This Week in Business" (in en). GamesIndustry.biz. https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-02-05-stadias-issues-were-clear-from-the-start-this-week-in-business. 
  9. "@frankcifaldi". Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  10. Hollister, Sean (6 June 2019). "Google's Stadia cloud gaming service is coming November 19th: Everything you need to know". The Verge. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  11. a b Hollister, Sean (18 November 2019). "Google Stadia review: the best of cloud gaming is still just a beta". The Verge. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  12. Noonan, Keith (26 November 2019). "Google Fumbled the Launch of Its Stadia Gaming Platform, but It Might Not Matter" (in en). The Motley Fool. https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/11/26/google-fumbled-launch-of-stadia-gaming-platform.aspx. 
  13. Hall, Stephen (19 November 2019). "Google needs to allay Stadia concerns — its launch does not". 9to5Google. https://9to5google.com/2019/11/19/google-stadia-concerns-launch/. 
  14. a b Peters, Jay (26 February 2021). "Two new reports reveal the depths of Stadia’s struggles" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/26/22303496/google-stadia-struggle-wired-bloomberg-reports-studios. 
  15. Gilbert, Ben. "Google's ambitious push into gaming is floundering, and it's due largely to too few games on its Stadia platform — here's why developers have held back". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  16. "Even game developers are nervous Google could kill Stadia". Android Police. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  17. Schiesel, Seth (8 April 2020). "Google Makes Stadia Gaming Service Free". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  18. Lyles, Taylor (30 September 2020). "One of Google Stadia's most interesting features, Crowd Choice, is finally coming this week". The Verge. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  19. Warren, Tom (20 October 2020). "Google launches free Stadia game demos to entice people into cloud gaming". The Verge. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  20. Orland, Kyle (20 October 2020). "Google Stadia's free demos could prove the value of game streaming". Ars Technica. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  21. Statt, Nick (5 November 2020). "You can borrow a friend's Google Stadia library with new family sharing feature". The Verge. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  22. "Google's Stadia game streaming service is now available on iOS via web app" (in en). Macworld. 16 December 2020. https://www.macworld.com/article/3601730/googles-stadia-game-streaming-service-is-now-available-on-ios-via-web-app.html. 
  23. "Google Stadia Cloud Gaming Platform Now Available on iPhone and iPad Through Safari" (in en). MacRumors. https://www.macrumors.com/2020/12/16/google-stadia-ios-launch/. 
  24. "Google Stadia Is Now Playable on iPhone and iPad - IGN" (in en). https://www.ign.com/articles/google-stadia-ios-now-available. 
  25. "iOS More Popular in Japan and US, Android Dominates in China and India" (in en). PCMAG. https://www.pcmag.com/news/ios-more-popular-in-japan-and-us-android-dominates-in-china-and-india. 
  26. Conger, Kate (4 January 2021). "Hundreds of Google Employees Unionize, Culminating Years of Activism". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/04/technology/google-employees-union.html. 
  27. Sumagaysay, Levi. "What can a small union for well-paid Google workers accomplish? Quite a bit, experts say". MarketWatch. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-can-a-small-union-for-well-paid-google-workers-accomplish-quite-a-bit-experts-say-11610140175. 
  28. a b "Focusing on Stadia’s future as a platform, and winding down SG&E" (in en). Google. 1 February 2021. https://blog.google/products/stadia/focusing-on-stadias-future-as-a-platform-and-winding-down-sge/. 
  29. Gartenberg, Chaim (1 February 2021). "Google is shutting down its in-house Stadia game development studios" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/1/22260803/google-stadia-game-development-studio-shut-down-jade-raymond. 
  30. Lyles, Taylor (26 February 2021). "Stadia version of Terraria is back in production after developer reconciles with Google" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/26/22303868/terria-stadia-version-back-development-canceled-google. 
  31. Lyles, Taylor (8 February 2021). "Terraria co-creator says Stadia version is canceled after losing access to Google accounts" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/8/22272502/terraria-google-stadia-port-canceled-deceloper-locked-out. 
  32. Wales, Matt (26 February 2021). "Terraria dev says Stadia launch will now proceed after resolving spat with Google" (in en). Eurogamer. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-02-26-terraria-dev-says-stadia-launch-will-now-proceed-after-resolving-spat-with-google. 
  33. Langley, Hugh. "EXCLUSIVE: Google is trying to salvage its failing Stadia game service with a new focus on striking deals with Peloton, Bungie, and others under the brand 'Google Stream'". Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/google-stadia-stream-plan-partnerships-peloton-bungie-gaming-service-2022-2. 
  34. Hollister, Sean (4 February 2022). "Google Stadia has reportedly been demoted, but it might show up in your Peloton" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2022/2/4/22917999/google-stadia-white-label-peloton-bungie-capcom. 
  35. "Report: Google Quietly Ditching Stadia" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/google-stadia-streaming-failing-shutdown-report-stream-1848487185. 
  36. "Google Stadia May Not Be Long for This World" (in en-us). Gizmodo. https://gizmodo.com/google-stadia-may-not-be-long-for-this-world-1848485015. 
  37. Gach, Ethan (29 September 2022). "Google Kills Stadia, Its Cloud Gaming Service, Refunding Everyone" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/stadia-google-refund-cloud-streaming-assassins-creed-1849597014. 
  38. Cranz, Alex; Peters, Jay (29 September 2022). "Google is shutting down Stadia". The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2022/9/29/23378713/google-stadia-shutting-down-game-streaming-january-2023. 
  39. a b Zwiezen, Zack (29 September 2022). "All The Games We Might Lose Forever When Google Stadia Dies" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/google-stadia-exclusive-games-pac-man-gylt-pixeljunk-1849599091. 
  40. Purdy, Kevin (30 September 2022). "Stadia controllers could become e-waste unless Google issues Bluetooth update" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/09/stadia-controllers-could-become-e-waste-unless-google-issues-bluetooth-update/. 
  41. Hornby, Rael (27 June 2023). "Stadia 2.0? Google may let you play games on YouTube soon". Yahoo Life. https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/stadia-2-0-google-may-124906372.html. 
  42. Larabel, Michael (3 September 2023). "Stadia Controller Rumbles & New Gaming Peripherals Supported By Linux 6.6" (in en). www.phoronix.com. https://www.phoronix.com/news/Linux-6.6-HID. 
  43. a b c d Hollister, Sean (19 March 2019). "Google Stadia uses a custom AMD chip to offer 10.7 teraflops of cloud gaming power". The Verge. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  44. a b c d Leadbetter, Richard (19 March 2019). "Google Stadia specs: is this our first taste of next-gen?". Eurogamer. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  45. a b "Google scores a custom AMD GPU to power its Stadia cloud gaming hardware". TechCrunch. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  46. "Stadia Is Google's Cloud Gaming Service Using Linux, Vulkan & A Custom AMD GPU - Phoronix". www.phoronix.com. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  47. a b c d e f g h i j k l "Stadia - Play for Free across your favorite devices". stadia.google.com. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  48. Franzese, Tomas (8 August 2023). "Baldur's Gate 3 could have saved Google Stadia" (in en). Digital Trends. https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/baldurs-gate-3-couldve-saved-google-stadia/. 
  49. Schoon, Ben (3 August 2023). "Baldur's Gate 3 gets its full release, four years after Stadia first revealed it". 9to5Google. https://9to5google.com/2023/08/03/baldurs-gate-3-release/.