Stadia's death is a tragedy
As a gamer and tech enthusiast, the idea of cloud gaming is something that just makes sense, as a service just saving the cost of the device makes it worth it.
Having lots of devices in the same place could have benefits in terms of ecology. First, the on-demand nature of the service makes it reasonable to scale it as demand increases, instead of having millions of devices sitting unused in people’s living rooms. Lots of people buy devices that end up not using as much as they thought. Not having to build such devices on a first instance is a big benefit, in cloud gaming we just need as many as people are actually using. Having all those devices in the same place and managed by a single company, this company is able to dispose them properly when they inevitably become obsolete.
Having all the devices in the same place also means that the corporation is able to power the devices using renewable energy sources. Users only need to power their TVs and the big energy hit is absorved by the company, which adds up very quickly if we consider the amount of gamers in the world.
I’ve been toying around with every cloud gaming service I can during the last few years. Google owns, without doubt, the best cloud gaming technology out there. Of course, as everything Google does, their huge failure came from management despite their awesome tech. The service just didn’t make sense for most people and Google’s been unable to iterate or try different things. They also sufferend an incredibly unfair ammount of attention, which made everyone think the service sucked. Google has been unable to answer people’s fears on such a new technology.
One day after the service’s launch, some YouTube video obliterated public’s opinion about the service showing bad video quality and terrible latency. My experience is that Stadia worked almost flawlessly… in the appropiate context. The best way to enjoy it was with the Stadia controller and Chromecast Ultra, with a good internet connection. Most people didn’t try the service in this context and they formed their opinion around that flawed experience.
Google failed at making people give it another try. The controller, connected directly to the Stadia servers via WiFi, is really remarkable, and it’s going to be a while until we see some competitor do something similar. It really was an improvement in latency compared to other services like, say XCloud.
Unlike other services, I was able to turn on Stadia and forget that the game was “happening” out of my living room at all. XCloud is not quite there yet, at least for me (I live in Barcelona), although they did massive improvements over the last year.
I find it amusing how Stadia has been the center of the cloud gaming criticism while at the same time being the best service out there. I find it extremelly sad that they give up when their product was so good.