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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.

Stadia Games and Entertainment was revealed as a first party studio for the Stadia at GDC 2019.[1] Several employees leading development on Stadia had previously worked on Gaikai or PlayStation Now.[2]

Launch[edit | edit source]

Stadia logo.

Just prior to the announcement of the Stadia at GDC San Fransisco in March of 2019 a gaming history exhibit featuring a number of products owned by the Video Game History Foundation was placed on display.[3] This display included important retro gaming gear on pedestals with an empty pedestal for the new product coming soon, which would be Stadia.[3] Though this generated important revenue from the foundation,[4] as all the other pedestal items were commercial failures, some saw this mix up as a bad omen.[3]

Google Stadia launched on November 19th, 2019.[5][6] There were a number of issues on launch day, though many remained hopeful for the future of the service.[7][8][6] Reportedly, the service would severely underperform expectations in the following year.[9]

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.[10][11] Reportedly major financial incentives were required to gain the support of major publishers.[9]

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.[12]

On October 1st, 2020 Stadia launched Crowd Choice, a feature allowing stream audiences to vote on the game roles of streamers.[13] Later that October, Google tried offering free demos of Stadia games to build interest in the program.[14][15]

In November of 2020 Google began allowing for cloud games to be shared between family members.[16]

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.[17][18][19] As iPhone marketshare in the USA, Japan, and Canada was very high in 2020 this was an important market for mobile gaming.[20]

In January 2021 some Google employees formed a union, becoming one of the few companies in the gaming industry with a union.[21] The union had existed in secret for a year prior.[22]

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.[23][24] 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.[23] 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.[25][26][27]

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.[28][29][30][31]

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.[32][33] Stadia instances use a dedicated custom AMD GPU with 56 compute units clocked at roughly 1495 megahertz to produce a performance of 10.7 teraflops.[33][32] Stadia server blades have 16 gigabytes of HBM2 RAM with 484 gigabytes per second of throughput.[33][32][34]

Stadia servers run a Linux based operating system.[32][33][34] The Vulkan graphics API is used.[35]

Notable Games[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. Webster, Andrew (19 March 2019). "Google created its own studio for Stadia-exclusive games" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18272996/google-stadia-studio-games-entertainment-exclusives-gdc-2019. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. "@frankcifaldi". https://twitter.com/frankcifaldi/status/1196880617369145362. 
  5. Hollister, Sean (6 June 2019). "Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service is coming November 19th: Everything you need to know" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/6/18654632/google-stadia-price-release-date-games-bethesda-ea-doom-ubisoft-e3-2019. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  6. a b Hollister, Sean (18 November 2019). "Google Stadia review: the best of cloud gaming is still just a beta" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/18/20970297/google-stadia-review-gaming-streaming-cloud-price-specs-features-chrome-pixel. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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/. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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". https://www.businessinsider.com/why-are-so-few-games-on-google-stadia-2020-2. Retrieved 13 November 2020. 
  11. "Even game developers are nervous Google could kill Stadia". 14 November 2019. https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/11/14/google-stadia-cemetary-cancel-dead/. Retrieved 13 November 2020. 
  12. Schiesel, Seth (8 April 2020). "Google Makes Stadia Gaming Service Free". https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/technology/google-stadia-free-virus.html. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  13. Lyles, Taylor (30 September 2020). "One of Google Stadia’s most interesting features, Crowd Choice, is finally coming this week" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/30/21495804/google-stadia-crowd-choice-feature-baldurs-gate-3. Retrieved 5 November 2020. 
  14. Warren, Tom (20 October 2020). "Google launches free Stadia game demos to entice people into cloud gaming" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/20/21525074/google-stadia-free-game-demos-cloud-gaming. Retrieved 5 November 2020. 
  15. Orland, Kyle (20 October 2020). "Google Stadia’s free demos could prove the value of game streaming" (in en-us). https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/10/google-stadias-free-demos-could-prove-the-value-of-game-streaming/. Retrieved 5 November 2020. 
  16. Statt, Nick (5 November 2020). "You can borrow a friend’s Google Stadia library with new family sharing feature" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2020/11/5/21546194/google-stadia-family-sharing-digital-games-purchase-share. Retrieved 5 November 2020. 
  17. "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. 
  18. "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/. 
  19. "Google Stadia Is Now Playable on iPhone and iPad - IGN" (in en). https://www.ign.com/articles/google-stadia-ios-now-available. 
  20. "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. 
  21. 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. 
  22. 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. 
  23. 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/. 
  24. 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. 
  25. 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. 
  26. 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. 
  27. 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. 
  28. 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. 
  29. 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. 
  30. "Report: Google Quietly Ditching Stadia" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/google-stadia-streaming-failing-shutdown-report-stream-1848487185. 
  31. "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. 
  32. 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" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18272809/google-stadia-specs-amd-teraflops-cloud-gaming. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  33. a b c d Leadbetter, Richard (19 March 2019). "Google Stadia specs: is this our first taste of next-gen?" (in en). https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2019-google-stadia-spec-and-analysis. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  34. a b "Google scores a custom AMD GPU to power its Stadia cloud gaming hardware". https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/19/google-scores-a-custom-amd-gpu-to-power-its-stadia-cloud-gaming-hardware/. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  35. "Stadia Is Google's Cloud Gaming Service Using Linux, Vulkan & A Custom AMD GPU - Phoronix". https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Google-Stadia-Vulkan-Linux. Retrieved 3 November 2020. 
  36. a b c d e f g h i j k l "Stadia - Play for Free across your favorite devices" (in en). https://stadia.google.com/games. Retrieved 3 November 2020.