Tag: cloud gaming

Google Stadia as pandemic fever dream

I think the comment at the end of this article about people being wary of Stadia because Google tends to shut down services is spot-on. I really liked Stadia, and bought five controllers which I either used within our family or gifted.

During the pandemic, I completed Sniper Elite 4 and all of the DLCs via Stadia. I bought FIFA 22 and Cyberpunk 2077 at full-price as I crossed my fingers behind my back hoping the service would survive.

Ultimately, being refunded for hardware purchases and games I bought is a win-win situation for me. I cancelled my Stadia Pro account earlier this year, dabbling first with Xbox Game Cloud via a Razer Kishi, then upgrading my PlayStation Plus account on the PS5, and more recently investing in a Steam Deck.

The good news is that the true Armageddon situation for Stadia customers is not happening. Google is issuing refunds, which will save dedicated Stadia players from potentially losing hundreds of dollars in unplayable games. The post says: “We will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store.” That notably excludes payments to the “Stadia Pro” subscription service, and you won’t get hardware refunds from non-Google Store purchases, but that’s a pretty good deal. Existing Pro users will be able to play, free of charge, from now until the shutdown date. The controllers are still useful as wired USB controllers, and a campaign is already starting to get Google to unlock the Bluetooth connection.

[…]

Google Stadia never lived up to its initial promise. The service, which ran a game in the cloud and sent each individual frame of video down to your computer or phone, was pitched as a gaming platform that would benefit from Google’s worldwide scale and streaming expertise. While it was a trailblazing service, competitors quickly popped up with better scale, better hardware, better relationships with developers, and better games. The service didn’t take off immediately and reportedly undershot Google’s estimates by “hundreds of thousands” of users. Google then quickly defunded the division, involving the high-profile closure of its in-house development studio before it could make a single game.

[…]

Google’s damaged reputation made the death of Stadia a self-fulfilling prophecy. No one buys Stadia games because they assume the service will be shut down, and Stadia is forced to shut down because no one buys games from it.

Source: Google kills Stadia, will refund game purchases | Ars Technica

Whitelabelling Stadia tech

I recognise that this is rather niche, but as a fan of Google Stadia, this is great to see. For some reason, there’s a lot of people who seem to want cloud gaming… not to work?

The thing is that it’s here, working, and pretty awesome. Yes, there’s rough edges at times, but the technology and culture around it is a lot less mature than the more traditional model.

“This is being powered by the Stadia technology,” an AT&T representative tells The Verge. “For this demo AT&T created a front end experience to enable gamers to play Batman Arkham Knight directly from their own website and the game is playable on virtually any computer or laptop.” Although AT&T calls it a “demo,” there’s no mention of length, as shown in a short walkthrough of the experience.

AT&T also adds that you can stream Arkham Knight at up to 1080p and 60fps, which is the same performance you’ll get if you use Stadia for free. Paid Stadia Pro subscribers have the ability to stream up to 4K at 60fps, for which AT&T doesn’t offer an option. On the Arkham Knight page, AT&T notes that the game will be “available for a limited time.”

We also asked AT&T whether the company would be working on similar Stadia-powered games in the future or if it planned on establishing a game streaming service for customers. AT&T wasn’t able to share any additional details, but its dip into Stadia technology may open the door for other companies to follow suit.

Source: AT&T is white-labeling Google Stadia to give you free Batman game streaming | The Verge

Microcast #088 — Spontaneous fluctuations

Overview

In which I pick another three interesting items from my bookmarks to discuss.

Show notes


Image: Richard Horvath

Background music: Shimmers by Synth Soundscapes (aka Mentat)