lbwtaylor 2 months ago

I feel like some of these perspectives are very tech industry focused rather than gamer focused.

As a gamer, I think Stadia failed because the system they created doesn't make sense. You had to buy games at real $40-$60 prices but you could only play them through this limited service. I don't think anyone wants that.

Compare that to paying the same price for a regular PC game which you can play via streaming using a streaming service, but also play locally, and know that you can take that game with you through multiple hardware decides and streaming services.

With Stadia, if I move somewhere with bad internet, there is no way to recover the value of my games I purchased. There is no other gaming system like that. All other systems either have an offline possibility or are pure streaming where you aren't making a game purchase investment, like Xbox Gamepass or Luna.

It just doesn't make sense except to a really small niche and is not competitive to the average gamer.

  • h0l0cube 2 months ago

    > As a gamer, I think Stadia failed because the system they created doesn't make sense.

    Google, Facebook, etc. are victims of early success. They made their billions on low hanging fruit, by throwing a lot of resources at problems with very high demand for a solution that weren't yet tackled well (e.g. query the internet, keep in touch with friends). So it's no wonder that in this day in age they are incapable of understanding product market fit, innovating, or competing in a market with competent players and a lower barrier to entry.

    • stingraycharles 2 months ago

      At least for Google, I don’t think you can call what they did with search low hanging fruit. Their solution was anything but, and it was truly innovative (at the time) and their success was well deserved.

      I do agree that they’re victims of their early success, but rather that it proves that it’s rather difficult to make multiple successful products.

      When you own a whole ecosystem, like Microsoft and Apple do, it makes it much easier to do; you can also see this in case of Google Maps. You can just push your products inside the ecosystem, and be almost guaranteed success.

      Stadia drifted away from that ecosystem (as does Google Cloud for that matter), and as such is much more difficult to pull off. Combine that with Google’s reputation for killing things, and the writing was on the wall from the start.

      • chongli 2 months ago

        Their solution was anything but, and it was truly innovative (at the time) and their success was well deserved.

        It was totally low hanging fruit. Try building a search engine today. The barriers to entry are much harder. Finding useful sites and filtering out spam are much more difficult now than when Google started. The signal to noise ratio on the internet has plummeted.

        And that is just the difficulty of building an application. Actually gaining marketshare in search is a whole other problem to solve and also very difficult. Even if you manage to build a superior search engine you’ll have an uphill battle convincing people to use it.

        This is what it means to have all the low hanging fruit cleaned out. Google built their application at a time when most people weren’t even on the internet and spam was barely getting started as a social problem. Sure, what they had was remarkable and innovative, but only because everything else at the time was so bad. But now? Different story.

        You can actually read Page & Brin’s original paper online [1] and implement it yourself. It’s not very difficult. In fact, it was an assignment question in my 3rd year numerical methods class. Unfortunately if you just point the basic algorithm at a crawl (which you can download for free here [2]) you’re going to get useless results. The spammers are optimized to fool this algorithm (Pagerank) so you need to find a way to filter out the spam. And that is a very very deep rabbit hole!



        • statictype 2 months ago

          It was totally low hanging fruit. Try building a search engine today. The barriers to entry are much harder. Finding useful sites and filtering out spam are much more difficult now than when Google started. The signal to noise ratio on the internet has plummeted.

          This is what everyone thought in 1999. Search engines were a solved problem in a crowded market where there could be little room for new contender And whatever limitations we had in search were just inherent in how it all worked and we just had to deal with it.

          • hahajk 2 months ago

            The existence and popularity of Dogpile was an admission that search engines were not solved yet. We just used all of them all at once understanding they were each imperfect.

            • Breza 2 months ago

              Oh wow, I haven't thought about Dogpile in years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

          • blitzar 2 months ago

            > This is what everyone thought in 1999. Search engines were a solved problem in a crowded market

            We must have lived in different 1999's

          • Retric 2 months ago

            Google didn’t solve really search, it solved an at the time fairly new and related problem of low quality websites. Arguing about the inadequacy of early search engine in that context is like arguing that email clients in 1985 should have included spam filters.

          • fallingknife 2 months ago

            How would you even start today? Your crawlers would be blocked from most of the internet.

        • KajMagnus 2 months ago

          > implement it yourself. It’s not very difficult

          But that's not where others failed. Instead, it's coming up with the idea, realizing that it's a truly good idea, that was the important thing. (Remember, Yahoo and other(s) didn't want to buy Google and the algorithm, when they had the chance.)

          Maybe if you replace "totally low hanging fruit", with "It was undiscovered winner-takes-it-all markets" I'd agree.

          In hindsight, everything is obvious. But initially, discovering that opportunity — looking at how many people (how few, just 2) did, it wasn't easy.

          • pessimizer 2 months ago

            > Maybe if you replace "totally low hanging fruit", with "It was undiscovered winner-takes-it-all markets" I'd agree.

            I don't understand the distinction you're trying to make. I think what's being proposed is that the more undiscovered markets get discovered, the fewer undiscovered markets are left, and the more difficult they are to discover. Pagerank was a good idea that worked.

            • KajMagnus 2 months ago

              I'm thinking that whenever an undiscovered market gets discovered, this unlocks new undiscovered markets.

              And back at the time, before Google Search, many many related markets didn't, couldn't, yet exist. And, back then, I'd think PageRank could count as one of the few and difficult thing to discover.

              I think "low hanging fruit" makes it sound too easy :- )

              • chongli 2 months ago

                I think "low hanging fruit" makes it sound too easy :- )

                Then you missed the point. It doesn't matter whether PageRank was something trivial any grad student could come up with or if it was on the level of Einstein's General Relativity in difficulty. The point is that it was one basic idea.

                Today if you want to dethrone Google you need to overcome the enormous amount of engineering that has gone into Google Search and Maps. You can't do that by just "discovering" something as a grad student. It's going to take thousands (or millions) of engineering hours to achieve.

                That is what it means for the low-hanging fruit to be gone. It's like the difference between discovering electricity, as we all know took quite a while but was achieved by a small number of scientists and inventors over a period of a couple centuries, and trying to compete against the modern-day electrical distribution network on your own, which is essentially impossible without some kind of Star Trek alien galactic empire level technology.

          • sumedh 2 months ago

            > Remember, Yahoo and other(s) didn't want to buy Google

            The big guys at that time were blinded by their own success, Google wanted users to do their search and leave the site which was completely opposite to what the Yahoo's of that day wanted to do, they wanted users to hang out on their portal.

            • philipov 2 months ago

              And now Google is the one blinded by their own success, who doesn't want you to leave their portal, with tactics like embedded search results and AMP. But where are the people who will come and dethrone them? Probably purchased wholesale by Google or Facebook, sequestered safely away collecting a paycheck and inventing no threats.

        • dasil003 2 months ago

          All outsized successes look like low-hanging fruit with the benefit of hindsight. If you cherry-pick the biggest business success in any 20 year span throughout the industrial/information ages, I’m sure you will find the initial path to success is always gone by the end of that span. That implies it those successes are always low-hanging fruit. If Google strikes you as moreso, I would suggest that’s only because of the novelty and eventual dominance of the web to everyday life which was not a forgone conclusion.

        • 300bps 2 months ago

          Try building a search engine today. The barriers to entry are much harder.

          I’ve often heard the saying how “everything easy has already been invented” and that it’s so much harder today to invent new things.

          I think it’s a fallacy. Things were just as hard in the past.

          I owned an ISP in 1998 and there were plenty of search engines at the time. Google invented something unique and innovative and they were rewarded tremendously for it. There were literally hundreds of other companies trying to do the same thing but Google was better. If it was low hanging fruit then Hotbot or any of the other major players could’ve done it.

          • Jochim 2 months ago

            Doesn't that just prove the point though?

            In 1998 there were plenty of search engines and their use was distributed more evenly. The internet was still fairly new and most people weren't online yet. It certainly wasn't an integral part of most people's life. Google came along and improved on the existing search engines and in doing so wiped out a lot of that competition, becoming what they are today.

            A new search engine now has to compete with global network effects, orders of magnitudes more data, Android, and a complex web of interconnected functionality.

            Even only looking at the advantage that Google Maps brings to the table totally blows past any barriers present in 1998. Sure, you could build a much better search engine but who's going to use it when it can't give them directions?

            Then consider that if you look like you'll end up making some headway, you're likely to just get bought and killed off/integrated.

            • 300bps 2 months ago

              A new search engine now has to compete with global network effects, orders of magnitudes more data, Android, and a complex web of interconnected functionality.

              Are you a pessimist in life? You’re focusing on only the negative aspects of starting a search engine today.

              24 years after Google was formed we have orders of magnitude cheaper processing, orders of magnitude better AI, the ability to start small with cloud computing and work your way up from there. We have 24 years of search engine research to a large extent publicly available.

              I really think all this “things would’ve been so much easier back then” are simply excuses as to why someone can’t do something today.

              • ReflectedImage 2 months ago

                What alternative search engine which isn't Bing (including DuckDuckGo) have you used recently?

                They do exist, have you heard of any of them?

                • richardsocher 2 months ago

                  We're growing a lot at

                  • Jochim 2 months ago

                    Hey Richard, great to hear you guys are doing well! A search engine with more personal control over rests is certainly attractive.

                    My intention wasn't to dismiss the possibility of popular new search engines. Only to highlight that the environment is substantially more complex/challenging than in 1997.

          • mrkramer 2 months ago

            >Google invented something unique and innovative and they were rewarded tremendously for it. There were literally hundreds of other companies trying to do the same thing but Google was better. If it was low hanging fruit then Hotbot or any of the other major players could’ve done it.

            I actually think that their entrepreneur spirit and business attitude made them successful. Other guys thought of their search engines as of technical experiments and hobbies, they weren't serious about it. In another words Google cared more for innovating their search engine, making money and then reinvesting it back in R&D and staying ahead of everybody. The same story was with Microsoft and Digital Research; Bill Gates simply cared more business wise and was more fanatical in making money than Gary Kildall.

        • mrkramer 2 months ago

          >Try building a search engine today. The barriers to entry are much harder. Finding useful sites and filtering out spam are much more difficult now than when Google started.

          I'm not a programmer but I can write down on a piece of paper an algorithm which is more efficient than Google's in filtering out "spam" websites. I'm from southeast Europe and for my local market there are numerous ecommerce phishing websites that are popping up on a first page of search results. Some even ranked first. I reported them to Google but 6 months after nothing changed.

        • wanderlust123 2 months ago

          Do you have a link to that numerical methods class? Sounds really interesting

          • isbvhodnvemrwvn 2 months ago

            Power iteration of Google matrix is the concept to look up. They reduced the PageRank problem to a well known linear algebra problem with a lot of efficient libraries.

      • choppaface 2 months ago

        Search was full of low-hanging fruit. TF-IDF was well-known. PageRank less so but when the nascent internet has so much signal-to-noise it’s often hard to go wrong. Execution was key—- especially compute efficiency—- but a lot of those are nerdy problems detached from real people. Which is wear Google does well.

        Stadia was a rich technical problem with an application area that’s accessible to Googlers. Even if Googlers don’t video game, real life is a game to them. But Stadia failed because it lacked the artistic passion behind Nintendo and the best gaming studios.

        If Google set themselves up like McKinsey—- i.e. turn their engineering workforce into a contracting service—- then Google might be able to contribute to a real product. But Googlers just don’t care about people. They care about puzzles and systematicity.

        • int0x2e 2 months ago

          Google is known for launching and then soon killing its projects, and game platforms are built on long term trust and momentum. That's why Stadia never got the momentum it needed.

        • mrkramer 2 months ago

          >Search was full of low-hanging fruit. TF-IDF was well-known. PageRank less so but when the nascent internet has so much signal-to-noise it’s often hard to go wrong.

          PageRank actually originates from Economics[0] where Input–output model tells you that you need to care about balancing inputs and outputs in order to have an efficient economy. Speaking of internet search engines and ranking websites inputs would be links(backlinks) and outputs would be ranked web documents.


      • x0x0 2 months ago

        I think the point is that Google nailed search so well -- and the $ chased eyes -- that they never really had to learn to build products that aren't constructed in the face of early, overwhelming demand. All the hard work of listening to customers, listening to prospects, teaching them that they should want the thing you built or are going to build, accepting feedback, etc.

      • narrator 2 months ago

        Larry and Sergei decided they are not interested in the business anymore. That's probably why Google has failed to innovate much lately. How great would Tesla or SpaceX be without Elon? Companies without the founders become too cautious and status quo oriented.

        • marcinzm 2 months ago

          When was the last time Google really innovated in a useful product and when they did stop being involved? From what I can tell Google has ridden on the coattails of Search Advertising for much much longer than they were uninvolved. Even Google's more public attempts at innovation are toys rather than useful products.

          • mrkramer 2 months ago

            Google always figures out how to scale products to millions and millions of users e.g. Search, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Android. But I agree with you, they are not really innovating. I would say they are scaling software in order to make it useful for mass use.

            • marcinzm 2 months ago

              That's basically how most successful large companies function. Acquire, optimize and scale. The specific areas they optimize and scale on differs by company.

              • mrkramer 2 months ago

                But Google is so huge that they are only satisfied if they serve hundreds of millions or billions of users. For example if you have SaaS company you would be very happy to serve hundreds or thousands of customers but if your business model is advertising like Google's is then you indeed need millions and billions of users. Your motives and incentives change when you grow big and sometimes an average customer suffers. In this case people who loved Stadia in particular are left for dead because Stadia's growth didn't satisfy Google's apetite.

        • thebruce87m 2 months ago

          I don’t follow SpaceX, but a cautious Tesla sounds great. Dump the self driving, concentrate on quality.

        • h0l0cube 2 months ago

          > Larry and Sergei

          This may be part of the problem. Google was founded by algorithm nerds, and that's now part of the DNA of the company. Apple (Tesla/Starlink/etc) was founded upon vision - what could the future look like? How do I make that happen today? - and then, somehow, to pare that back to something that's economically viable in a reasonable time frame.

          That said, taking existing problems and trying to better apply algorithms to make a better product is still a thing in AI space though - and even here plenty of start ups are taking the lead.

          • vinay_ys 2 months ago

            Google tends to take on problems that have high technical complexity, potential wide user base and extremely low marginal cost per user and monetizable via ads. And they detest manual/field operational work and don't have the institutional muscle to do fast incremental iterative product development. These are good predictors of what product of theirs will succeed vs fail.

            Within high technical complexity space, they differ in significant ways with Apple or Tesla – they don't have organizational mechanisms to do deep vertically integrated problem solutioning. Even when they have academically much superior AI tech, their ability to productize those capabilities is slow and less effective due to how cross-organization collaboration works.

            On the business side, they don't have a business team really. There's no MBAs scheming new pricing or bundling models nor are there people wanting to chase/beat market competitors. So, whenever they do SKU based pricing or subscription based pricing, they tend to get it less right than, say, Microsoft.

            • h0l0cube 2 months ago

              I agree with what you're saying, and I think you've said more accurately and with more detail, what I was trying to convey.

              Edit: One thing to add... Google's history of 'solving highly technical problems' has really been more around scaling infrastructure, with their notable successful products being Google search, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube - with Android being an exception that rule if you'd call that a 'product'. Maps and Google assistance have some technical aspects, but nothing really out of the grasp of a modern startup. Technical ability for SaaS companies isn't really the moat it used to be.

          • bitcharmer 2 months ago

            > Google was founded by algorithm nerds, and that's now part of the DNA of the company.

            Not any more. These days their DNA is ads.

            • random314 2 months ago

              And ads need algorithms

              • h0l0cube 2 months ago

                I agree with both those takes.

        • vxNsr 2 months ago

          It’s pretty interesting actually you can see exactly where Elon is focusing based on what’s going on at each company. The fact that Tesla has failed to output a new car or really innovate much lately, and spacex appears to be stuck in a morass of engine troubles for their latest big rockets, tells you how much he’s taken his eye off the ball.

          • panick21_ 2 months ago

            I'm sorry but this is just outright wrong.

            > The fact that Tesla has failed to output a new car or really innovate much lately

            They literally turned into a battery company with their own batteries, their own chemistry and their own end to end manufacturing process. They are making state of the art batteries when only 5 years ago this company had never even made single high volume car.

            You can like or dislike FSD but it is innovative.

            In terms of manufacturing, things like Gigapress is now getting copied all over the car industry.

            Innovation is not just new products.

            And in capital intensive business, scale itself requires innovation.

            And they are doing this while having 30% growth every year with exploding profits at the same time. After 10 years when people were screaming about how EV wouldn't ever be profitable.

            > spacex appears to be stuck in a morass of engine troubles for their latest big rockets

            What? SpaceX is currently reaching an incredibly high operational cadence. That requires innovation.

            SpaceX is launching Starlink sats with laser communication and deploying it large scale. They are producing incredibly advanced antenna technology as consumer electronics.

            The Raptor engine is the most advanced rocket engine in human history and they are on their second major iteration building them as fast as very few rocket engine in history have ever been produced. They are regularly doing full duration test of these engines. Currently its not really the engines that is holding them back.

            Claiming that being a little bit late on building the by far the most advanced rocket system in human history is taking his eye of the ball is pretty absurd.

            • impossiblefork 2 months ago

              The Gigapress is an Italian innovation though, and the Italians built it because they understood that it could be incredibly useful, not because there was a custom order.

              Tesla were early adopters by making use of them, but not innovators.

              • geertj 2 months ago

                > Tesla were early adopters by making use of them, but not innovators.

                There are two versions of the Gigapress history going around. In one version the idea came to the Idra CEO in a dream, while in the other version Elon gave multiple die casting manufacturers a call and got a hard no from everyone, expect for Idra who gave him a ‘maybe’.

                Whichever it it is not that important in my view. What is undisputed is that Tesla put their money where their mouth is and took a real money bet on this new unproven technology early on. That is as much innovation as actually coming up with the machine and idea yourself.

                Edit: to add to my point about innovation, from what I understand, no car company has ever used die casted parts in structural components due to concerns about internal stresses resulting from the die cast process. Normally this requires expensive post treatments but Tesla developed a custom alloy that makes this post treatment unnecessary. I am a bit light on details; someone with a metallurgy or structural engineering background pls chime in.

                • impossiblefork 2 months ago

                  As I understand it Idra already had the idea for large presses and understood their potential. The demands Tesla had may still have been difficult to realize. Consequently the stories are in some sense reconcilable.

                  Structural die-casting has been a trend in the automotive industry, having started before the Gigapress. One article on this, from 2018, is and in that you see an analysis of the economic benefits, even though it's an article for public consumption.

                  The article itself, back in 2018, mentions cars already using structural die-casting and basically forecasts structural die-casting becoming a more typical manufacturing method.

              • panick21_ 2 months ago

                Tesla specifically came to them and asked them to developed a machine to their specifications, financed and developed the product and they are getting virtually all the machines the company can produce.

                Also its a part of company from China operating in Italy.

                These machines are also continuously improved in prosecution at Tesla and that knowlage is flowing back to the company. The machines deployed in Texas are already an improvement over those in California. There is a lot around the core machine that needs to be improved as well.

                • impossiblefork 2 months ago

                  It's an Italian company that was very recently bought by a Chinese company.

                  My understanding is that they saw the usefulness of these machines quite early and were developing them in this direction and that they had already produced 4000 tonne presses of this general type. Now it's at 6000 and 8000 tonnes.

                  Customers are needed to make use of good ideas-- you can't take them otherwise, but the innovation is the work the Italians did.

                  • panick21_ 2 months ago

                    Yeah that company had no other costumers that were considering 6000+ machines. Tesla put down the money and the internal engineering to prove out that using huge casting as a structural member for the car was viable and then worked with a supplier to design the exact machines they needed.

                    Machines that like still wouldn't exist today had Tesla not done the necessary investment.

                    There is the machine and then the application of the machine to an actual production process.

                    • impossiblefork 2 months ago

                      Tesla may also be unique in having a strong need for machines of this kind, which in a way, attempt to avoid assembling of complex metal parts. If the other manufacturers have that down, then their need for very large components of this kind is lower.

                      It's like Germany and its heavy presses, during WWII. Lack of manpower, or in this case, something else that is wrong, leads to an player going for the most complete realization of that is easier and has major advantages.

                      • panick21_ 2 months ago

                        > Tesla may also be unique in having a strong need for machines of this kind

                        All other car companies?

                        > If the other manufacturers have that down, then their need for very large components of this kind is lower.

                        This is not how this works. Tesla also 'has it down' with the Model 3 manufacturing line.

                        Its still lower CAPX and lower OPEX to use gigapress.

                        This is a large part why even the former CEO of VW said they were behind in some ways.

                        • impossiblefork 2 months ago

                          >This is not how this works. Tesla also 'has it down' with the Model 3 manufacturing line.

                          Yes, but at the time when they went after these presses as the thing for the future, they didn't quite have it down.

                          >Its still lower CAPX and lower OPEX to use gigapress.

                          Now, probably, yes.

            • WastingMyTime89 2 months ago

              > They literally turned into a battery company with their own batteries, their own chemistry and their own end to end manufacturing process.

              That’s Panasonic, not Tesla. You are confused by the Tesla marketing here. Tesla makes plenty of interesting things but that’s not part of it.

              • panick21_ 2 months ago

                No its not. You are misinformed or you are buying into some twitter non-sense.

                Yes, Tesla is buying batteries from Panasonic. They are also buying batteries from LQ and CATL. Nobody questions that.

                In addition to that Tesla has its totally own production process and chemistries. These are not shared with LG, CATL or Panasonic. Its own fully owned battery factory and research facility in California. They are currently building a battery plan in Austin and in Berlin, these are fully owned and operated Tesla plants.

                These plants have their own manufacturing processes developed in-house. They even built the machines them selves. A lot of this is done in Germany in a former well known German supplier that Tesla bought outright like 5 years ago. They also bought a company in Canada that makes the battery filling machines and pumps in Canada.

                If you still think we are in 2014 and Tesla is just being supplied by Panasonic, you have not been paying attention.

              • MrMan 2 months ago


                • panick21_ 2 months ago

                  Don't thank him, he is flat out factually wrong, refer to my other comment.

      • h0l0cube 2 months ago

        > When you own a whole ecosystem

        Google virtually own Android, and yet they haven't innovated or taken the initiative in a way that Apple has. A distinction can be drawn with Apple here, as they've opened new markets by making devices that didn't exist yet (e.g., touch-driven mobile computing). They innovated from the beginning, not so much remaking Altavista with Bigtable.

        • chx 2 months ago

          While certainly Apple has innovated on things, you can't name anything which was not a gradual improvement but, as you say, a device that didn't exist yet.

          The first phone with a capacitive touch screen was the LG Prada. Of course, resistive touch screen phones existed for a long, long time before that.

          Sony Ericsson Liveview, MOTOACTV, the Pebble watch, even the Samsung Galaxy Gear predates the Apple Watch.

          As always, downvotes are welcome but where I am wrong?

          • whywhywhywhy 2 months ago

            The innovation and genuine new thing on the iPhone and the entire key to its success was the screen.

            But you’re just seeing the screen 1 dimensionally yes capacitive screens existed but when I say the “iPhone screen” is why it was a success I mean the technology (capacitive) + the interaction design (momentum scroll and pinch to zoom) + heavy optimization (jerky scrolling was unacceptable, every interaction had to move exactly with the finger, even browser redrawing was decoupled from the scroll to enable this).

            All these parts together in unison and to a high level of polish is what made that product magical and a success.

            On the other hand the LG Prada devs and designers just had jerky scrolling and no one on the team said “this isn’t good enough”

          • nottorp 2 months ago

            You're not wrong but you're simply describing Apple's business model. Take technology that has matured and do it well.

            If you ask me, Apple's main innovation with the iPhone was making the UI usable with just a finger instead of a stylus.

            • ghaff 2 months ago

              There were a lot of naysayers at the time around doing away with a physical keyboard led by all the Blackberry speed thumb typists. The criticisms weren't even wrong per se but they ultimately didn't win out against the tradeoffs--which were certainly aided by the maligned but very necessary aggressive autocorrect.

              • treis 2 months ago

                The first iPhone kind of sucked compared to the blackberrys of the day. They didn't even have copy and paste. It took a few iterations before the potential was unlocked.

                • ghaff 2 months ago

                  I had a Treo and didn't switch to an iPhone until the 3GS. A lot of people remember the iPhone (and iPod) as these overnight successes--and they really weren't although they sold well enough. It was around the third or fourth generation that both really hit their stride. (As I recall iTunes didn't even run on Windows at first and Macs were systems used mostly by media professionals.)

                  • chx 2 months ago

                    Jobs initially wanted people to build web apps and the app store only became available for the second generation iPhone (which was called the iPhone 3G). The next year, the 3GS added HSDPA support which made online browsing pretty smooth. Combined with apps, it was finally ready for massive success.

          • simonh 2 months ago

            I don’t think you’re wrong, yes all the individual technologies in the iPhone already existed, but there’s a bigger picture. The fact is the iPhone revolutionised hand held mobile computing, so given that fact it’s up to us to figure out how they did it and why it worked.

            The reason Apple’s success at product development is so hard is that it involves orchestrating many, many different technologies together to create a powerful set of capabilities accessed through a consistent seamless user experience. That’s not a simple thing to even describe or discuss, let alone understand. It’s why they take years to develop products, and are almost never first in a new category, such as smart watches as you say.

          • Retric 2 months ago

            Having a capacitive touch screen wasn’t the iPhone’s innovation, touch screens date back to the 1940’s, it was the browser, UI, and business model that was innovative.

            That said, the LG Prada beat the iPhone to market by a month but the iPhone was in development for longer. What’s really interesting is the LG Prada II included a physical keyboard showing they where backing away from the design rather than doubling down.

            • Huh1337 2 months ago

              What was innovative about the browser that wasn't already available on Sony Ericsson phones with Opera Mini since 2005? The UI was a little different and polished but also not that new. I still don't get the hype. I had the original iPhone, found out it doesn't support apps and promptly went back to my Sony Ericsson.

              • Retric 2 months ago

                Opera Mini at iPhone’s release couldn’t zoom in and out or show websites in a horizontal or vertical view etc. It also didn’t directly render websites requiring a server to provide a more limited version which caused a range of compatibility and latency issues etc.

                Opera Mini was well optimized for cellphones of the time and bandwidth limited cellphone plans, but Apple’s deal with AT&T to allow unlimited bandwidth flipped a lot of those design decisions on their head. IMO what really separated the iPhone’s browser was a larger screen + better UI + better rendering + unlimited bandwidth meant it could just be used to casually browse the web.

                • Huh1337 2 months ago

                  It definitely could zoom in any way you wanted, because otherwise the non-responsive desktop websites wouldn't be readable on the 240x320 display.

                  Opera Turbo was always disabled on my phone, never needed it. But I never used GPRS, only EDGE and later.

                  • Retric 2 months ago

                    The sever didn’t provide the full sized images on large pictures, so you couldn’t zoom in the phone simply didn’t have that information.

                    The iPhone was released June 29, 2007 but announced in January. “On 7 November 2007, Opera Mini 4 was released. According to Johan Schön, technical lead of Opera Mini development, the entire code was rewritten.[28] Opera Mini 4 includes the ability to view web pages similarly to a desktop based browser by introducing Overview and Zoom functions, and a landscape view setting. In Overview mode, the user can scroll a zoomed-out version of certain web pages.[29] Using a built-in pointer, the user can zoom into a portion of the page to provide a clearer view”

                    • Huh1337 2 months ago

                      That was one of the reasons why I didn't use Opera Turbo at all.

                      Hmm, perhaps I had a beta version of that. I definitely had it before the iPhone came out. Or it might have been a different browser? Not sure.

              • hbrn 2 months ago

                Back in those days extremely smooth scrolling and pinch-to-zoom was something that turned mobile web browsing from annoying hurdle to a fairly pleasant experience.

                Mobile hardware wasn't capable of delivering such smoothness. Apple's innovation was to prioritize UI rendering over everything else. When you're zooming, rendering stops and browser only deals with zooming. Regardless of current CPU capabilities and load, scrolling and zooming is always smooth. And turns out people care about those way more than parallel rendering.

                That's some underappreciated outside of the box thinking.

            • phpisthebest 2 months ago

              >it was the browser, UI, and business model that was innovative.

              You call it innovative, I call it draconian anti-consumer walled garden that needs to be eliminated

              • Retric 2 months ago

                How exactly do you think that suggests the first iPhone wasn’t innovative?

          • mattkevan 2 months ago

            There’s a reason why the LG Prada is remembered by precisely no-one other than people on message boards who say ‘well aktchully the iPhone wasn’t the first touch screen phone’.

            And that’s because it was a terrible phone.

        • WastingMyTime89 2 months ago

          > Google virtually own Android, and yet they haven't innovated or taken the initiative in a way that Apple has.

          I’m confused by your comment. Android pioneered a good 80% of the modern smartphone UX. Apple makes nice phones but they are pretty much always late mover.

          • hedgehog 2 months ago

            What did Android pioneer? Android started life as a Blackberry clone, iOS appeared inspired by Newton, PalmOS, and ideas from FingerWorks and others. Android of course pivoted to copy the iPhone after it was announced. A lot of good ideas that later showed up in both were in Palm's WebOS first. Hard to see 80%.

        • panick21_ 2 months ago

          With android they had to get buy in from phones makers and other powerful parties. To do this they had to give up quite a bit of power and control. They never owned the ecosystem in nearly the same way. It was always a compromise.

          • kelnos 2 months ago

            I think that was true years ago, but less so now. Google has clawed back a lot of the power and control they initially gave away in order to gain partners. Things like moving functionality into Google Play Services give them the ability to do things without making an agreement with partners, and tightening requirements for passing conformance testing means they get to dictate even more as to what being an "Android device" means.

            Their Pixel line hasn't dominated the market by any means, but has also done well enough that they can at least claim to some extent that they don't "need" the other manufacturers. Of course they do, but they can use "whatever, we'll just make $COOL_THING a Pixel exclusive and leave you behind" a threat with teeth. They actually do sometimes make features Pixel exclusive (sometimes just for a limited time), and that seems to be working out ok for them.

            Similarly, Apple made a lot of concessions to the wireless carriers back in the beginning, but I'd wager these days they've also clawed back most of that control. If Apple tells their customers, "we wanted to give you this cool new feature, but Verizon wouldn't let us", that will not go well for Verizon.

            So I do agree that there's some compromise, and Google (and Apple) don't get to do literally anything they want, they are in a much better position to control their ecosystems and dictate terms than they were back when they started.

            • microtherion 2 months ago

              > Similarly, Apple made a lot of concessions to the wireless carriers back in the beginning

              What concessions would those have been? The way I recall it, Apple in the early iPhone years would always favor retaining control over the phone experience over carrier reach, so they were available on very few carriers initially (especially compared to Android), but would not make concessions to them. Eventually, iPhones became a must-have item for carriers, so they all signed on under Apple's terms — and nowadays, unlocked phones are mostly the norm anyway.

          • marcinzm 2 months ago

            They've tried to make their own phones for a long time including buying Motorola in 2012. According to a friend who worked at both, Google simply didn't understand making hardware anywhere close to how Apple did.

        • gilbetron 2 months ago

          You have it backwards. Except for the very first iphone, largely Apple steals from UX, technologies, and form from the Android ecosystem. Apple is great at polishing ideas, but not so great at launching new ones entirely. They do have a few, but not many. Most of their "advances" can be traced back to non-Apple ecosystems. Apple has a closed ecosystem that they control completely, which I why I (and many Android users) hate. They stand on the shoulders of open systems like Android and watch for innovation that has merit, pluck it out, polish, and deliver it as their own, then gain the bulk of the reward. I see them as largely parasitic. Hell, they even claim reliability claims for OS X while standing on the back of unix.

        • vxNsr 2 months ago

          This is such a great point. Google has been coasting on android for years now, pixel has some cool phone features (call transcription, navigating phone trees) but those aren’t shared to the wider android market and virtually everything else comes down to, let’s make a better camera. The whole reason they created android was to prevent Microsoft from winning the mobile space.

          Making sure the other guy loses isn’t great motivation to do anything. Especially once the “other guy” has lost. Google isn’t especially excited by OS, because their bread and butter is all in the cloud they just don’t have the institutional energy to care about consumer software for the consumer’s sake. It’s always looked at through the lens of how it will help advertisers and since the zeitgeist for the last few years has been about privacy as it relates to personal devices, they can’t really “innovate” much without hurting their core business.

          • cmrdporcupine 2 months ago

            > just don’t have the institutional energy to care about consumer software for the consumer’s sake

            I worked in Google consumer hardware and yes this is how it is. Quite a few motivated and talented people, for sure, but organizationally it just ended up being "copy Apple and/or Amazon's roadmap."

            There are whole product areas at Google whose entire existence boils down to "everyone else is doing it, so why can't we?"

          • kelnos 2 months ago

            This is also such a great point. I've never considered Google's lazy attitude toward Android through the lens of why Android became a priority in the first place. That really does explain a lot.

            And the rest of it: "Ok, we killed Microsoft here, now what?" "Eh... whatever."

      • tracerbulletx 2 months ago

        Android should be their ecosystem and they aren't managing that nearly as well as they could be.

    • jrockway 2 months ago

      I don't think people at Google have a problem innovating or understanding product/market fit. Rather, they have 100,000 employees (think about that for a second, how long it would take to count that many people), and not everyone's project is a good idea. That doesn't mean people don't try hard, it just means that there isn't necessarily a business just because they want there to be.

      I think the problem is simply that it's too disorganized with that many people. I used to work on Google Fiber, and something that our customers complained about was that they couldn't upload files to Google Drive at 1Gbps. That wasn't our fault, we were happy to route data at that speed, and we had the peering capacity with Google to support it. (Different ASNs!) The reality was, we identified performance problems with Google Drive, and they simply didn't care. They had other stuff to worry about; only one city in the US had 1Gbps Internet at the time, but they still didn't have 100% of the docs/file sharing market (hi Dropbox), so they were like "it's not a priority" and worked on something that would actually make them money instead. I get it, but it never felt good. That's what's sad about companies with such a large scope; supporting your own company's initiative is rarely the right business.

      The reason I like small companies is because if there was jrockway Fiber and jrockway Drive, obviously they would work perfectly together. I would simply not sleep a few nights to make it happen. But at big companies, that's not a thing, and it really confuses people that imagine the brand name means something. (I have similar complaints about calling shitty Android tablets "Chromebooks", when they didn't run Chrome OS. The Chrome OS team was a level above Android in terms of technical excellence, so it just felt bad to have some bug-ridden third-party tablet ruin the brand name like that. But, money. I'm sure people bought them, hated them, and still use Chrome instead of Firefox. But it always makes me a little sad.)

      • Closi 2 months ago

        I think Apple shows that it’s not really an inevitable problem with scale - they largely make products that stick around and are well integrated with each other while being huge in scale and scope.

        IMO from the outside the problem with Google seems to be a lack of saying ‘no’ to people - they start so many different offerings without enough/any cohesion, bring stuff to market quite fast, then seemingly strip resources away as soon as they have gone live if the product isn’t instantly an overnight success.

        • bannana2033 2 months ago

          Are you sure? I used to manage a department with over 100 Apple devices. Too many issues with sync on iCloud, iCal, keynote(etc). Sure works fine for 1-4 users (family). Even in hn people use fastmail, google maps in iPhone. There are so few suggestion to people move to apple email offering. People with Apple devices primarily use Google products.

          • Closi 2 months ago

            I didn't claim they made perfect products - but they do make products that tend to stick around and work well with each other.

            I don't use iCloud with Keynote myself, but those sort of sync issues always happen in multiuser apps that also allow offline editing (e.g. I get the same conflicts in O365 with Powerpoint because they are inevitable if you are allowing offline editing).

          • lotsofpulp 2 months ago

            Apple will lock you out of email with no recourse just like Google, hence no suggestion to move to apple email offering. The point is to use your own domain, and use a business that cares about serving email.

        • vineyardmike 2 months ago

          > strip resources away as soon as they have gone live if the product isn’t instantly an overnight success.

          This is the issue. If it’s not #1, or maybe #2, in the market then google is certainly going to drop it after a while.

      • mrkramer 2 months ago

        Larry Page said he is worried because of Google was and is doing too many things. But they simply have to do it because their cash pile is so big that it can't just hang out in bank for decades.

        • jrockway 2 months ago

          Google Fiber was a good way to spend the cash, but it seemed like it wasn't 10x-y enough. Drag a cable to someone's house; 1 house gets Internet. Not the sort of business silicon valley likes, despite the extreme profitability potential.

    • utopcell 2 months ago

      Low hanging fruit ?

      There were 10 search engines when Google launched, and a megalith called Yahoo dominating the Internet.

      • h0l0cube 2 months ago

        > problems with very high demand for a solution that weren't yet tackled well

        Emphasis added. It took putting the right money and the right minds towards doing it well. There aren't a lot of SaaS ideas that scale to close to 100% of world population that don't yet have an incumbent. Tiktok was lucky that Twitter dumped Vine. Zoom was lucky that Skype, Hangouts, Facetime dropped the ball by trying to keep their users in walled gardens, and not really solving the teleconference problem well.

      • teaearlgraycold 2 months ago

        IMO Google was the first search engine to execute successfully, and that launched them to the stars. Building something that does the job on the label is one thing - building a good product is another.

        So they are big because they were there early. But being there early didn't guarantee you'd get big.

      • otabdeveloper4 2 months ago

        The business model back then was about "portals", not information retrieval.

        Search technology wasn't new or innovative, the innovation was when Google bolted on AdWords.

      • MikePlacid 2 months ago

        I do not know about the rest of you, but me - I was hanging pretty low indeed. All what was needed for me to switch from Altavista was a start page without any advertising and small non-intrusive text ads on search results. They were even relevant often.

      • ezconnect 2 months ago

        There were no real search engine back then. Those sites were just curated list of websites. Google was the first one to crawl the whole web and made it possible to find them.

        • rippercushions 2 months ago

          Uhh, no, Altavista was the dominant player before Google and it had plenty of competition. Google's key innovations were leveraging PageRank to extract signal from what other webpages were saying, instead of relying on naive keyword search etc, and then figuring out a way to monetize search with targeted keyword ads when Yahoo and co were stuck with banner impressions.

          • MattPalmer1086 2 months ago

            Yep, Altavista was the one to use before Google. I'm not sure the search results were that much better to be honest when they launched, although they were good.

            Call me shallow, but I liked the simple, distraction free landing page and the "feeling lucky" button.

            • kelnos 2 months ago

              Agree with the sibling: the first time I used Google, it felt like magic. I ended up not even caring about what I was searching for; I just started throwing queries at it and marveling at how great the results were.

              Altavista was certainly better than what came before, but you had to get your query just right in order to find what you wanted. And if you couldn't find the right words for the query, you were sunk. With Google, you could get ok-ish results with a sub-standard query, and the ok-ish results would often help you figure out a better query.

            • utopcell 2 months ago

              What on good earth are you talking about ? Google results upon launch were miles ahead of anything else at the time. I personally Googled once and never went back.

              • ZiiS 2 months ago

                At the time many technical users were using programs that could search multiple diffrent engines to desperately try and improve the results. On home connections these programs also needed to notify you when the results were done. Google results were miles ahead of everything found accross all the engines whilst being nearly as fast as you could type.

              • MattPalmer1086 2 months ago

                You are probably right, I honestly can't remember. I do remember really liking the uncluttered page though!

              • tlb 2 months ago

                Google was better if you were searching for something popular, because it showed highly linked-to pages for that query. AltaVisa was perfectly good if you were searching for something specific that would only have a few pages mentioning it. It was great for function names, error messages, names of professors, etc. So different people had different experiences.

            • chrisbuc 2 months ago

              I remember using dogpile [1] (which was a search engine aggregator) - the results from google were consistently better than altavista, so over time I gravitated directly to google for results. These days I'm on Kagi...


    • indymike 2 months ago

      > Google, Facebook, etc. are victims of early success.

      This is accurate. What makes a company good a defending market leadership makes them terrible at innovation - and you see this with both Google and Meta as they churn though building 100 million dollar products only to discontinue them because they aren't worth billions yet.

    • smrtinsert 2 months ago

      Facebook wasn't early. Social networks had been going on for decades before them, and even the code around them is freely available these days. They had a gimmick and it paid off. Facebook was advertising.

  • ttty 2 months ago

    Maybe reading real reviews from real users will help too:

    • lowbloodsugar 2 months ago

      r/nintendoswitch: 4.2m

      r/ps5: 2.6m

      r/steamdeck: 230k

      r/stadia: 119k

      What jumps out from that thread you linked is the casualness of the gamers. So not only did Google find a tiny market, but that market wasn't terribly motivated.

      • MomoXenosaga 2 months ago

        Chasing casuals isn't a bad idea. Nintendo does it Pokémon and Animal crossing.

        Stadia relied on casuals who happen to have a stable fiber optic cable internet connection.

        • taeric 2 months ago

          Neither Pokemon nor Animal Crossing strike me as casual. I think of Candy Crush and all the games like that. Not games with a story that start off with a tutorial.

          • int_19h 2 months ago

            It's a spectrum, not a binary. They're way more casual than, say, Half-Life or GTA.

      • snapcaster 2 months ago

        I disagree with this use of metric completely. I game a lot, and I own multiple devices on your list above yet subscribe to 0 of the subreddits. People subscribe to the subreddits of _games_. You didn't even count /r/nintendo instead. If anything, I think the fact that these subreddits have so many people is actually a point against what you're arguing about the size of the casual market. I do agree with you on the larger point though, stadia had no product/market fit

  • NikolaNovak 2 months ago

    Agreed. Feeling of not owning games, being locked into a service, and dependent forever on connectivity, seemed a very bad idea and a bad deal.

    Xbox game pass doesn't work for me but I understand it's value proposition will work others - I pay a smaller fee and in return I get cloud or local, for a large variety of games. Geforce now you still had to buy games, but you got to keep them regardless of gfn, and you still had local or cloud options. Different systems but both understandable. I never understood stadia value - it seemed worst of all worlds and full of restrictions.

  • Shorel 2 months ago

    It makes sense for their intended use:

    Google wants googlers and high school students to not use Windows for any reason, and only use chromebooks.

    Stadia was a way for people with a chromebook to play Windows games.

    • yyyk 2 months ago

      That would make sense if Stadia was targeted at casuals (high school students probably can't afford AAA).

      However, the lack of subscriptions, separate purchase model, lack of discoverability (no search bar for years! from the Search company!) and porting model make it clear Stadia was very much not targeted at casuals.

      • vermilingua 2 months ago

        AAA games are targeted at casuals.

        • discardable_dan 2 months ago

          No, phone games are targeted at casuals. AAA games are targeted at people who have some 40-60 hours of spare time over the next three weeks to spend on video games.

          This is coming from someone who now has no free time for video games, and only plays indie roguelikes because AAA games are too much of a time commitment to ever finish.

          • insightcheck 2 months ago

            Casual is a nebulous term, but perhaps "widely accessible" is easier to evaluate. We can measure accessibility by games sold.

            By sales, the highest-selling games are [1] Minecraft (now AAA), Grand Theft Auto V (AAA), EA Tetris, PUBG (before becoming freemium), Mario games, Pokémon, Terraria, and Red Dead Redemption 2.

            So by sales, the vast majority of top-selling games are AAA. For what it's worth, I think similarly to you about preferring indie games to AAA games due to lack of time. But for most gamers and people in general, I don't think people even calculate the 40-60 hours per week. Most players probably just spend a lot of free time and weekend days gaming, and then the hours add up.

            You do have a point that a large number of players play free-to-play games (e.g. League of Legends and many phone games), but there's a fair argument that AAA games are also targeted at "casual players," by evidence of their wide popularity in terms of massive sales numbers.


          • Terretta 2 months ago

            > AAA games are too much of a time commitment to ever finish

            AAA game industry agrees with you, releasing mega titles like Halo w/o a story to finish, just online "service game" that will always be there for you (until they shut the service off).

        • michaelt 2 months ago

          I thought one of the selling points of Stadia was it would let you play games that need a $500 graphics card, without buying a $500 graphics card.

          And in my mind, those are enthusiast games, because only enthusiasts are spending $500 on a graphics card.

          • noirbot 2 months ago

            And yet it mostly launched with games that I could play on my 5-year old $200 GPU that I probably couldn't even sell for scrap at this point. People really overestimate how much of a GPU you need to play a lot of these games. Sure, if you have a 4k monitor and you want to play at 144hz then sure, but at that point you've spent $2000 on the monitor, so what's $500 on the CPU.

          • thrwyoilarticle 2 months ago

            And if you're willing to take upscaled resolutions like Stadia offers then you can typically go below the minimum specs (which are themselves far below recommended). Direct X versions are more likely to be a blocker than simply not being able to maintain a framerate.

        • fellellor 2 months ago

          Exactly but the barrier to entry is price. Most indie games targeted at non casual gamers will run on potato PCs.

      • cma 2 months ago

        Highschool students are a primary demographic for AAA.

      • mgraczyk 2 months ago

        I think that stuff is just bad product work and BD

  • _HMCB_ 2 months ago

    I’d be curious as to the elevator pitch presented to Google execs and why they bought into it. Wasn’t anyone thinking about the issues you brought up? Seems like fundamental issues. To think they spent millions and millions on this service only to close it down in short order. Typical Google but what other company does this repeatedly with 4-year precision.

    • wokwokwok 2 months ago

      You’ve just got to look back through history and you’ll see the same thing play out, and controversially it’s not actually the worst play in the long run.

      1) pick a high risk / high reward opportunity

      2) invest heavily in the fundamental tech behind it and see if it works out

      3) when it doesn’t work out, shut it down, take the tech you built and use it for something.

      So for example, let’s look at dart.

      There was never any way it was going to work, really… but, at the time, maaaaybe, it could have worked. …and google would have owned the web stack entirely.

      …but, they’ve put it to work in flutter now and that’s going ok.

      The point I’m making is that if you look at this from the perspective of investment in fundamental technology (Ie. Steaming video say) what’s better?

      A) develop it with no specific use case

      B) work really hard on a very difficult use case that might end up failing

      If you can afford it, the latter is maybe not the worst way of doing it.

      You end up with battle tested technology and no users to bother you for the made-in-a-rush service you made to go with it.

      You could easily argue that more successfully outcomes could come from less risky investments… but do you want 50 kind of bleh services in your portfolio?

      I don’t think google does. They want a few unicorns.

      You don’t get unicorns by playing it safe.

      So… I’m not saying it’s the right strategy, or even a good one, but from that perspective you can see why you’d try.

      Bet: we’ll see something fancy using the streaming tech roll out eventually, probably linked to a more successful existing product, it will be unremarkable and well liked by most people.

      • josephg 2 months ago

        The counterpoint is that their strategy is burning trust in their brand. New products depend on early adopters to mature and grow. But I’ve been burned by Google’s product ADHD so many times now that I refuse to be an early adopter of any of their products. If gmail came out today, I’d assume it would be shut down in a few years and I wouldn’t touch it. The only Google products I’d use today are Android, Chrome, Search, Gmail and sometimes firebase or Meet. I think Google meet is the only thing in that list less than 10 years old. (And even then it’s just rebranded Hangouts).

        Every time Google shuts down a product, they hurt their reputation. They’re pissing in the pool that future Google products need to survive. At this point I don’t know if Google can make successful new products because nobody trusts their follow through.

        • MattPalmer1086 2 months ago

          Yes, completely agree, same here. I don't touch Google products any more, and it's mostly because I don't trust they will remain available.

          I only use the products that are very unlikely to go away quickly. Search, Gmail and Android. I'd like to get off Gmail for other reasons, but it's a pain. And I mostly use DuckDuckGo for search these days.

          • kelnos 2 months ago

            > I'd like to get off Gmail for other reasons, but it's a pain.

            I used to think that, but I was actually surprised how easy it was to get off GMail. I gave Fastmail my credit card number, clicked a few buttons in their UI to get my mail transferred over, moved my MX records, and I was done. I ended up migrating contacts, too, but that was just a couple more clicks in Fastmail's UI, as they have an OAuth flow that interacts directly with Google's APIs.

            I still haven't migrated my calendar, and a few other email-adjacent things, but it's fine; it can all operate this way until I'm ready.

            Edit: right after posting, realized you might be using an address, so yeah, migrating off GMail in that case is much harder than if you have a custom domain.

            • technion 2 months ago

              I've always used a custom domain not with google, but the reason I would find it hard to get off gmail is the list of sites that only offer a 'login with gmail' with the only alternative being 'login with facebook'. And the list is getting consistently bigger, with many developers getting in on the trend of "passwords are too risky, just let Google handle it". If there is ever a day Google turns off sso for free Gmail users it will be a big one.

              • kelnos 2 months ago

                Wow, really? I have only once run into a website that does not accept signup with simple email/password (, of all things, which requires a GitHub login). Not saying they don't exist, and it sucks that you've run into them and needed them, but I'm really surprised.

                Beyond that, especially given that I assume (hope?) such sites are rare, a simple workaround would be to have a GMail account just for such signups, and set it up to forward to your main mail account hosted elsewhere. I think that's a pretty small price to pay if you really do want to get off GMail.

                In my case, I still have my GSuite (or Google Workspaces or whatever they hell they're calling it now) account (really the only difference is now my MX records point somewhere else), so if I did have any sites left where I hadn't switched from Google auth to email/password auth, it would still work.

              • Macha 2 months ago

                I can think of only three or four times in the last 5 years I've encountered sites that only offer third party SSO, and all of them I decided as not being worth my time. It's about as many as have decided that magic links are a sign in option they want. Sites are thankfully hesitant to play around too much with sign up options that might exclude some users

            • MattPalmer1086 2 months ago

              Exactly! When I finally do migrate, it will use my own domain.

        • sogen 2 months ago

          "Google's ADHD", I'm stealing that :)

      • pragmatic 2 months ago

        Is flutter going ok?

        It’s a product I’ve shied away from because Google.

        Angular (and angularjs before it) are typical Google engineering. (Too much rxjs solutioning in search of a problem to solve. Compare it to svelte using an observable interface to get 80% of the benefit with the rest of the absolute insanity that junior devs bounce off and make angular a dreaded framework compared to react, vue, svelte)

        Google is an anti-brand at this point.

      • pas 2 months ago

        flutter may be ok, but it's again something that's hard to relate to, because it's using fuckin Dart. and artificial barrier.

        they should use TS. or kotlin or Swift ... or just Java.

        look at React. the simplest piece of shit and it's eating the world because people got into the cult of React. similarly with Go.


        streaming tech: they'll just fold it into YouTube somehow.

        unicorns: did they ever launch any since Gmail?

        • wokwokwok 2 months ago






          I dunno, I think it’s fair to say they’ve had a few winners.

          • michaelt 2 months ago

            Android, by acquiring Android Inc. Maps, by acquiring Keyhole and Where 2 Technologies. Docs, by acquiring Upstartle. YouTube, by buying YouTube Inc.

            Got any winners that they started themselves instead of acquiring?

            Credit where it's due though: A lot of companies destroy their acquisitions, which hasn't happened in these cases.

            • UncleMeat 2 months ago

              Photos. More than 1B users at this point.

          • pas 2 months ago

            Okay, Drive/Docs/Photos qualifies I think. (But also fuck 'em for ruining Picasa :D) Google Workspaces has to be a money printer.

            Go doesn't make them money directly. Similarly k8s is great, but doesn't make them money. (At best it's the classic commoditize your complement strategy. Though I have no idea where Go comes from. Well, I guess if you hire enough language developers you're bound to eventually get a new language, even if it's a bit meh, so they at least matched React in that.)

            • Macha 2 months ago

              My feeling was Go was a project that came out of the idea of making a language to reflect the ethos of their C++ style guide from years ago. The focus on reducing complexity felt like a way to make it easy for them to hire/onboard grads etc.

    • nicbou 2 months ago

      The further your lifestyle is from that of a Silicon Valley developer, the further FAANG is from serving your needs.

      No one devs on a 8 year old budget laptop or a slow internet connection. Some devs forget that those even exist.

      • Macha 2 months ago

        It's very common on HN to forget that Macs have only a 10% share of the laptop market for sure

        • nicbou 2 months ago

          Even high end Windows laptops have a small market share. Same for 4K displays.

          Fast internet isn't a given either. It's slow in some areas, and slower in most hotels. I've had sub-10mbps, 1500ms ping internet quite often, especially while travelling.

          That's without counting cultural assumptions SV companies make, especially when their staff is lacking in cultural diversity.

      • kanbara 2 months ago

        maybe for some, but not for all. or do you think making phones and computers is out of touch from normal people’s needs?

    • heavyset_go 2 months ago

      I think some of Google's strategy is identifying new markets and potential rivals, and then throwing their resources at them until they dominate the market or buy/crush the competition. Building a sustainably profitable product is ancillary to that and not much of a factor initially.

      • hinkley 2 months ago

        IMO, Google died the day they announced they weren’t going to work on anything with less than a billion dollar revenue potential.

        It sounds like a financially smart thing to do but it cuts your legs out because nobody is doing research anymore, and you select for people with half a billion potential and an eagerness to lie.

      • bombcar 2 months ago

        I suspect this was exactly it; Google saw a potential for something like this, wanted in on it, and when the whole market didn't pan out, abandoned it.

        Microsoft did something similar with the Xbox (people forget that it was basically done because they were afraid that consoles would become general purpose computers and destroy the Windows monopoly) but they also actually made a business with it and made it profitable in its own right.

        • ahartmetz 2 months ago

          In his book "The Road Ahead", which was full of bad predictions by the way, Bill Gates wrote something about the competition between computers and TVs and about set-top boxes. The original Xbox makes sense in that context. It was a bottom-up project initially, but its approval probably had something to do with Bill Gates' set-top box ideas. Microsoft Bob was another related development (cf. the Xbox dashboard, computing appliance).

          • ghaff 2 months ago

            Go back to the 90s or maybe early 2000s, and there was definitely this widespread vision of a media hub connected to the TV in the living room as the primary home entertainment device (or even more broadly home control). People weren't necessarily in broad agreement about the nature of such a device but it was certainly a more centralized view of the world than what ultimately has ended up playing out.

            • bombcar 2 months ago

              If you replace “TV” with mobile phone we actually got pretty close to the predictions.

              • ghaff 2 months ago

                True. Many people primarily interact with entertainment, news, etc. through a single connected device. It's just much more individualized and on the go interactions than it was envisioned in the guise of a home theater/living room hub.

      • GekkePrutser 2 months ago

        But in this case they didn't do any of that?

        • heavyset_go 2 months ago

          I see it as a foray into the cloud gaming market and a way to stifle competition. Once Google throws its weight into the game, it might be harder for smaller companies to keep up or even secure enough funding to compete.

          It's not always going to work out, but I do think Google's actions helped stifle competition in that market. Google could have successfully stopped another company from blowing up in that market and becoming a real competitor to worry about in other markets down the line.

          • Macha 2 months ago

            It certainly made publishers put pressure on nvidia to block their games from its "stream your own steam library" service, because it gave them the idea they could get service exclusivity bonuses and full retail price for the privilege, something I doubt they'll roll back just because that model has failed for now

  • moomin 2 months ago

    Honestly you’re right there’s gaming specific reasons for the failure, but that itself is symptomatic of Google’s entry and exit of many markets: never really bothering to figure out what the market actually wanted and just hoping that high quality engineering will solve that.

    Admittedly this approach has worked once, and extremely successfully: Android. But Google tend to believe that being from Google will make a product more attractive when the exact opposite is true. (For many reasons, including the simple lack of trust that Google will still be in a market in five years time.)

  • klodolph 2 months ago

    I think the idea is that while you still pay $60 for the game, you don’t pay $400 for the console.

    • impalallama 2 months ago

      A 300-400 dollar console isn’t that much of a barrier compared to a 60 AAA video game. This market of people willing to pay premium prices for enthusiast products but is unwilling to pay for the hardware to run them I don’t think exists.

      • delecti 2 months ago

        A 300-400 dollar console that's out of stock is a barrier. I still can't go to Amazon and easily buy a PS5, and until recently couldn't have easily bought a high-end GPU, but I could have gone to Stadia and bought any of the (admittedly lacking) selection of games and played immediately, without even waiting to download anything, and on any of several devices I own.

        I'm surprised at how many people are discounting what Stadia offered. My reasons for not investing in it are pretty much just data caps and lack of trust in Google.

        • password54321 2 months ago

          Any gamer actually looking for a console would have found one through a discord bot in a decent amount of time. No one was about to abandon console gaming because they had to wait a month. Something to also keep in mind is people have friends on these consoles and accounts with achievements they care about.

          • delecti 2 months ago

            Alternatively, that same gamer could have just bought the game they want on Stadia and not have any of that hassle to deal with.

            Also, I've owned every Playstation since PS2, and I've never played an online multiplayer game on one (with the exception of Journey, which does so silently), nor do I give the slightest damn about achievements.

            • password54321 2 months ago

              No one cares if you care. That's completely besides the point.

              • delecti 2 months ago

                My point is not that I don't care, or that nobody cares about achievements, it's that not everybody cares about achievements. My point is that Stadia and its equivalents have a place in the market for at least some people.

      • 2muchcoffeeman 2 months ago

        When I buy a console I usually wait until it’s had some price drops and then there’s really only a few games I want to play. And because I waited so long these too are at a steep discount. These days, that means there’s so much content with DLCs and the base game that it could take me over a year to finish a AAA title.

        If I could just play the game and not worry about the hardware, I’d be tempted as long as the service was reliable. Had Stadia become a real business, I’d have jumped on in 5 years or something.

        • YurgenJurgensen 2 months ago

          Now that I think about it, Stadia launched into an extremely favourable market where both GPUs and next-gen consoles were unobtainium and 'price drops' are a thing of legend, but they still couldn't make it work. Any other time without that advantage and they'd have failed even harder.

          • 2muchcoffeeman 2 months ago

            They barely tried though. Did they expect to rival Xbox, Play Station and Nintendo in 2 years with their shitty reputation and without a AAA exclusive game? Were they even prepared to invest in the platform at all?

            • sofixa 2 months ago

              > Were they even prepared to invest in the platform at all?

              They probably spent millions on getting the whole Ubisoft and EA catalogues on Stadia. There was also Red Dead Redemption 2 quite early on, Football Manager 2020, Destiny 2, some Doom, Hitman, Cyberpunk. Not to mention hundreds of indie games. Saying Google didn't invest enough is showing lack of knowledge about the platform.

              Thet didn't need an exclusive, that money would have been better spent on convincing more studios to port, marketing. And reassuring potential users with a promise for a refund.

      • Godel_unicode 2 months ago

        This mindset is pretty outdated, the most popular games now are all free-to-play. I suggest checking out Fortnite (although I personally don’t suggest actually playing it), CoD Warzone, or Overwatch 2. For pre-teens (or almost anyone else for that matter) wanting to try out the free games their friends are playing, a $300+ console is a huge barrier. That’s why they play on their phones.

    • jjav 2 months ago

      > I think the idea is that while you still pay $60 for the game, you don’t pay $400 for the console.

      But you own the console for life, whereas a game on Stadia is known to disappear at any moment (because we know google will drop it).

    • JohnHaugeland 2 months ago

      This model has been tried many times in gaming, and has never succeeded

    • mstipetic 2 months ago

      If I were to rent a game for say 10 dollars play it and be done with it that would make me jump on it. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense

    • jayd16 2 months ago

      But who has good enough internet for this service and no console?

      • brianbreslin 2 months ago

        I bought it, heavily discounted, after having sold my ps4 and wanting something to play very infrequently. The service was spotty despite having gigabit fiber and mesh wifi in my house. As an infrequent gamer, I'm likely the worst possible customer archetype for google.

        • mesh 2 months ago

          That was my experience. (I tried it for a free trial). Graphics were poor and input lag was abysmal (and made a lot of types of games unplayable).

          • MaxBarraclough 2 months ago

            I never had much trouble with input lag or dropouts. Perhaps region-specific?

            I still didn't see any value in Stadia though. The cloud-only full-price approach was the main issue (GeForce Now had them beat there), but also their investment in hardware has been pitiful, so you're effectively playing at low graphics settings. Rather than addressing that, they chased the 4K buzzword. The kind of gamers who insist on 4K aren't the kind who want to use cloud gaming services. GeForce Now understood this, Stadia didn't.

            Incidentally Google were sued for supposedly misleading promotion of their 4K support:

      • Godel_unicode 2 months ago

        I have college friends on the east coast who all said it worked great for them. The they all commented that it was better on ethernet. The mesh Wi-Fi kits that everyone loves now add noticeable latency.

    • nomel 2 months ago

      Something like Shadow PC makes way more sense, and is why I choose it. It’s just a cloud PC, and even supports SteamVR.

      • GekkePrutser 2 months ago

        But that's really focused on long term commitments.

        First they had an almost year-long waiting list. Now you have to pay a hefty commissioning fee.

        For me that makes no sense as a cloud setup. The benefit of cloud is paying when you need it (like when I travel and didn't bring my PC) and not when I don't need it.

        Stadia did offer that but because you had to pay for the games it also wasn't worthwhile.

        I use plutosphere now for VR when I'm traveling and that's great and not too expensive. Still a bit buggy and slow to boot the machines though.

        • nomel 2 months ago

          I think you misunderstand Shadow. It’s just a cloud PC. Any games you buy are unrelated to Shadow. You can stop paying whenever you want, and the games are still yours. You just reinstall them when you start up you Shadow subscription again. This is what I do. If you buy a physical gaming PC at any point, you just install your games into it, rather than Shadow.

          And, there hasn’t been a waitlist for some time now. At least in California. I was up and running within 30 minutes of starting my subscription, and can cancel any time.

          And, regardless of the exact implementation, the Shadow approach is infinitely more desirable to me than the complete lock in, and limited selection, of Stadia.

          • GekkePrutser 2 months ago

            I know what Shadow PC is. But they now have an 'activation fee' that costs 1 month of use - $30 (currently waived but it will be imposed soon). That means if you just want to use it for 1 month (e.g. during a holiday) you will have to pay for 2 months. It applies every time you reactivate a paused account too!

            And yes I know you use your own games.. But it's not suited for casual use for me. I use plutosphere instead. That's only intended for VR but that's all I use anyway :) Plutosphere is also a "PC in the cloud" but you pay $2 per hour and a $10 monthly fee if you want persistent storage. No sign-up fees though. But its pricing is pretty ideal for holidays, whereas Shadow PC is now completely unviable for that with the activation fee.

      • sofixa 2 months ago

        > It’s just a cloud PC

        With the associated UX of manually logging in, handling disk space, waiting for installations and updates, etc. etc. etc.

        • nomel 2 months ago

          The trade off is that the hundreds of games that I previously bought can be played, there’s no censorship or artificial restrictions in the game stores, and any games I buy in the future won’t be lost to the collapse of a single service, since I can just reinstall them on any other PC (cloud or not). Personally, that’s worth the minor inconvenience of an update screen. And, this is an implementation detail. Shadow could easily provide scheduled updates for Windows, and Steam/whatever popular store games.

          > manually logging in

          You should try shadow. You just open the Shadow app in whatever device, it boots, and you’re in. No login.

          You do have to boot with a different device, first for VR with their Quest app (implementation detail of the Beta) or Virtual Desktop (required).

          • sofixa 2 months ago

            > You should try shadow. You just open the Shadow app in whatever device, it boots, and you’re in. No login.

            You have to login to each and every store (Steam, Epic, Ubi, etc.) you want to play games with.

            > there’s no censorship or artificial restrictions in the game stores

            As of now. Some games' ToS already state you can't play them remotely, and technically Shadow would be in violation of that. It's enough for EA or whatever to threaten to sue them and they might implement restrictions.

            I agree that the flexibility and continued ownership of the games is a massive bonus.

            • nomel 2 months ago

              > you want to play games with.

              Once, as you also need to do when booting up your a console for the first time.

    • throwawaysleep 2 months ago

      Do the kinds of people shelling out $60 for a game find the $500 console a big barrier?

      • smelendez 2 months ago

        I think so: People who played video games as kids, don't really have much time for them now, and don't really want to go through the effort of even figuring out which console to get and setting it up, but occasionally get curious about a particular game. Maybe they don't even have an obvious place in the house for a console, if they only have wall-mounted smart TVs with nothing hooked up to them, or maybe they don't want to give their own young kids console games yet, which is hard to do with a PlayStation in the living room.

        It's probably possible to turn some of these people into regular gamers with a service like Stadia. But a lot of them won't buy many games, and those that do might bite the bullet and go out and buy a console, so probably not the best audience for a product?

        • threeseed 2 months ago

          > go through the effort of even figuring out which console to get and setting it up

          There are effectively 3 consoles and it takes about a minute to set it up.

          They don't strike me as common reasons to choose Stadia.

          • delecti 2 months ago

            Modern consoles take way longer to setup than they used to. Playing a game on PS5 requires installing it, plus usually patches. I think you're giving consoles too much credit for ease of use.

            • threeseed 2 months ago

              > Playing a game on PS5 requires installing it, plus usually patches.

              Which happens once and requires no intervention from the user.

              The rest of the time it's as simple as take DVD out of box and put in drive.

              • delecti 2 months ago

                Yeah, "once", as in the first time, as in the "setup" process.

                If you meant "setup" as in literally just playing a game you've already setup, then sure, that can be fairly quick, but still not as quick as Stadia was.

          • HWR_14 2 months ago

            Not only are there only three consoles, I bet I could set up any of the three faster than setting up stadia.

          • mesh 2 months ago

            Yeah, and it seems stadia was more difficult to setup than a console.

    • alasdair_ 2 months ago

      But you need a high quality internet connection instead.

  • atoav 2 months ago

    I mean you are right, but on top of that I would not have trusted google to keep that service going. Generally I guess it is very unwise to trust any streaming service to keep going indefinitely, because there will always come a point where some old game is more work to support than it is worth.

    If we gave some gamer the funds to run the gaming equivalent of I might have more trust in the service. Earning money and archiving cultural goods for future generations are not easily compatible goals.

  • DannyBee 2 months ago

    "I feel like some of these perspectives are very tech industry focused rather than gamer focused."

    They are - Google is still the most trusted brand in any studies you can find (and if you find one where it's not, it's probably #2)

    It is going down rather than climbing right now, but that's also not that uncommon - Apple/etc is also seeing the same thing.

    Now, among tech, and maybe even gamers, i would bet this is less true, and that is highly problematic to the degree it needs to sell to tech/people who listen to tech.

    But the latter also often consistently overestimates how much influence it has (IE tech people often believe that the whisper effect they have makes a difference, and that is only true in certain cases over a long period of time).

    In most cases, social influencers in completely unrelated fields can generate more tech product sales than happy/angry tech people :)

    Put another way - the simplistic notion that Stadia, or anything from Google, failed simply due to lack of tech trust is silly. While it's a fun headline that plays to their audience, things are rarely that simple

    • Nokinside 2 months ago

      You are taking about general trust into brand. That's not what the trust means in this context.

      We are talking about trust for Google to launch a new product or service. It's not worth to users nor businesses to direct any money or effort into anything new Google makes because it's not for long.

      Google simply can't be trusted to do that. Partial list of products estalishing this trend: Meebo, Buzz, Orkut, Google+, Notebook, SideWiki, Google Schemer, Google Spaces, Google Checkout, Google Directory, Google Sync, Google Hangouts, iGoogle, Google Knol, Google Lively, Google Moderator, .... Complete list is over 200 items long.

      • DannyBee 2 months ago

        Actually, I'm not. I understand you disagree, but your view simply isn't backed up by data. You are exactly the kind of person I mentioned who feels a certain way, and believes that means the data backs up their feeling, but it doesn't.

        Rather then assert your feelings as truth, please show any meaningful data that says the general public doesn't trust Google to launch products. It should not be hard to find if you're right.

        As an aside, I was responsible for Google moderator for the majority of its life. It was never launched except as a "use this if you like it" type thing (we considered it but chose not to make a formal product offering).

        The launch blog post (which only appeared on the app engine blog) makes this super clear: "Several of our colleagues and visitors to Google have asked if we could make it available externally for any kind of talk, presentation and/or event. Conveniently, Google App Engine launched in April and made it easy for us to do this! As a result, we're pleased to release this tool, now called Google Moderator, on Google App Engine."

        We were asked by some folks to let them use it, and it was easy enough, do we did it. We kept it around for folks for 7 years. Just about everyone using it had moved on.

        The turndown notice was a generic one I approved because we got asked to have some random public facing answer in case anyone cared. IE so that Michael Arrington didn't just make stuff up out of thin air to support whatever his narrative of the week was. We were spending our time helping the small number of users, so I didn't care about the accuracy of the notice. It is correct that we didn't productize it due to usage and other reasons. It still remains used internally.

        I know that data doesn't fit your narrative either, so I suspect you'll discard it or argue rather than change your view.

        This is actually why your view doesn't match the data - you are focused on conforming the data to your view instead of your view to the data. Citing moderator in the same list as actual products shows that.

      • Eddy_Viscosity2 2 months ago

        Exactly this. Would I trust a new google offering by putting a bunch of my money, time, dependences into it? Hell no. The history is too strong that this offering will likely only be around for a short time and then be unceremoniously shut down and leave you hanging. Ironically, the fact they they keep doing this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • WastingMyTime89 2 months ago

    > As a gamer, I think Stadia failed because the system they created doesn't make sense. You had to buy games at real $40-$60 prices but you could only play them through this limited service. I don't think anyone wants that.

    That’s where the market is moving towards however. A lot of the game you "purchased" on the other platforms refuse to work if you can’t connect to their weird anti-piracy scheme.

    I agree with the article. Stadia was an interesting offer. The revolving free games coming with the pro subscription was a good deal and the idea of being able to keep playing games at their rendering best without having to fuss and constantly upgrade a PC - by far the worst platform to game for occasional players like me - sounded great.

    Stadia issue was for most it wasn’t offering what it claimed to offer. Games didn’t look that good on the free tier for exemple and as pointed no one trusts Google so I didn’t want to invest more than the strict minimum. Apparently I have played Cyberpunk for free so that’s nice.

    • HelloNurse 2 months ago

        > That’s where the market is moving towards however. 
      That's where certain rent-seeking companies would like the market to move towards. But the market always has two sides.
    • noirbot 2 months ago

      I'm not sure that's exactly the right read in a way that is important here. Sure, if you buy a game on Steam or EGS, you're still kinda just "renting" it since if they go away, you can't play the game because of DRM. That said, I have a lot more faith that Valve will be able to keep offering Steam, since it's so lightweight, relative to the clear amount of cost inherent in running Stadia.

      It's a lot harder to build a walled garden from scratch as a late-comer, and even harder when you're building it in a swamp where people are less confident about moving in.

  • mitchdoogle 2 months ago

    I think there needs to be a distinction between stadia the monthly service that lets you play new games each month and stadia the platform that allows you to buy and play games from any device. The platform is amazing and I wish Google would find a way to keep it around. The service is a different thing and like you said, doesn't make a lot of sense. Too few games and someone who wants to play games all the time anyway probably has. Setup they like already and lots of games for it to boot.

    I bought RDR2 for stadia in 2020 and played it everywhere - my phone, laptop, desktop. I played through the whole game and never once had any technical issues. That ability is what gives cloud gaming a real value beyond PC gaming or console gaming. You tell someone without a high spec gaming PC and no PS5 that they can play a new AAA game without buying anything new, then I think lots of people will love that. The article mentions you can't use your own controller, which is flat wrong. I used a Microsoft Xbox controller for both computer and android when I played. For someone who only plays games for 10-20 hours a month or so, it's great to not have to worry about buying new equipment.

    However, after the introductory free month of the service I gave it up. Only a few games, and the ones I liked were so short and simple that I was done with them after a week or so. GeForce now has the right idea here - the cloud gaming IS the service and it connects to your existing games on steam and origin.

  • josefresco 2 months ago

    > You had to buy games at real $40-$60 prices but you could only play them through this limited service.

    sigh As a gamer and actual Stadia user this is not a complete or fair depiction. Like almost every other cloud/gaming service including Xbox etc. Stadia had a "Pro" subscription model which have you access to dozens (hundreds?) of games.

    Furthermore "you could only play them through this limited service" is exactly the same model as every other gaming service!

    • Asooka 2 months ago

      > Furthermore "you could only play them through this limited service" is exactly the same model as every other gaming service!

      In theory, yes. In practise, if Steam shuts down tomorrow, I still have all my games on my hard disk and cracking Steam's DRM is pretty easy, and quite possibly completely legal in the circumstance.

    • fxtentacle 2 months ago

      Geforce now allows you to link an Epic account and play all the games you previously purchased.

      • sascha_sl 2 months ago

        Definitely not all. GFN is by far the most reliable and "native feeling" of these, but not just giving you a generic Windows install with some persistence is what makes it not worth it for me.

        I guess it's not trivial to get such "floating" windows licenses and prevent people from mining with a mouse jiggler?

        Though I did subscribe to the 3080 tier for a month when my gaming machine was out of comission.

  • haxorito 2 months ago

    100% agree with your opinion, the business model didn’t make any sense. Also as platform it wasn’t that grate either: lags, graphics quality and many more issues (not it’s not my internet). I’m glad they tried but suits failed the project.

  • ghaff 2 months ago

    The "average" gamer/consumer doesn't want to fuss with any special gamer hardware or upgrading PCs. They may not even know what a GPU is. And they probably accept that there are lots of things that they can't do with bad internet most of which they care about a lot more than games.

    The idea of Stadia made a lot of sense to me when I first heard of it. I guess the implementation wasn't very good though.

    • Waterluvian 2 months ago

      In fact, that’s such the case that the average gamer just uses a tablet or phone.

      • ghaff 2 months ago

        They tend to be playable offline, but yes. The average player has zero interest in having a gaming PC.

        Of course, the average consumer has also never heard of Stadia. I've barely heard of it and I was at the Google Cloud event where they either launched it or gave it a lot of air time.

  • password54321 2 months ago

    It’s not just the default prices but the sales which are quite competitive on both steam and the ps store.

  • throwastream4 2 months ago

    Streaming works for movies and TV, it will work for games.

    It was a shitty platform to develop for, end of story. I’m the games industry, there are 100 more failures that look like that.

    Specifically Vulkan is bad, and Linux is worse.

    The solution is obvious and done by the extant and thriving streaming services.

    • StanislavPetrov 2 months ago

      >Streaming works for movies and TV, it will work for games.

      Latency isn't an issue for movies or TV. Streaming will never work for games in the same way playing a game locally does.

      • Godel_unicode 2 months ago

        Streaming RTS games is virtually indistinguishable from playing locally, except for lack of fan noise and constant need of needing to patch. There are tons of games that stream well, just not twitchy games.

        • StanislavPetrov 2 months ago

          Agree completely that streaming single-player games is not an issue. The issue is that many of the most popular games in the world are FPS or real time twitchy games where latency is a huge issue. The #1 and #2 games in the world by peak player times are PubG and Crossfire. League of Legends, Fortnite, Rocket League, Overwatch, are all hugely popular games with hundreds of millions if not billions of players. There may be a niche for streaming games to those who enjoy single-player games, but that wasn't what Stadia was trying to be. They were trying to become the goto gaming platform for all games. Unless and until they figure out some sort of FTL communication, that is never going to be feasible as a universal platform.

  • taauji 2 months ago

    how stadia stood our for me was that i did not have to pay a subscription to play my game anywhere. once i bought the game i could take it anywhere and play it for free. with nvidia it was ~10$/month after purchasing the game

  • mmcnl 2 months ago

    I think the reason is even simpler: lack of games and exclusives.

  • wafriedemann 2 months ago

    >You had to buy games at real $40-$60 prices but you could only play them through this limited service.

    Like any other console.

  • csydas 2 months ago

    I get what you're saying but I don't think it's about gamer focus so much as just gaming in general.

    I wrote this on another article comment but I don't think it's just about Google not understanding gamers, but gaming in general.

    - People who play games are fickle and distrustful (and rightfully so, cause gaming in general has a sordid history of screwing the player-base repeatedly). Google didn't understand this and seem to have understood it as "built it and they will come", ignoring the handful of failed consoles that claimed to revolutionize gaming

    - People who play games are fiercely fanatic towards specific games/platforms (that the console wars still continue is very strange to me; preference sure, but the outright militant approach towards different platforms is just silly). Google didn't understand this and thought it would be enough to just put platform out there and everyone would switch over

    - Developers understand the resource allocation for making a game pretty well, and they constantly are missing deadlines and/or releasing half-baked games. Google didn't understand this and just released a platform that was costly to port to and might as well have been another console

    - The games that were the showcase of Stadia were not games you want to just pick up and play on the go, they're something you sit down and put a few hours into. Google didn't understand this and apparently just thought "well, AAA game X is popular, let's get that on our platform"

    - Google already _has_ a platform for gaming called Android, and they didn't seem to understand what makes it work and what doesn't, or how to use that as a base for their idea, and instead tried to make a whole new platform

    - Stadia was a new gaming platform no matter how you slice it, but Google seemed to have the idea that Stadia was just something everyone would love and convert to immediately no matter how complex it was to put games on it. Developers even as late as 2022 still had trouble porting games to Stadia and if it's hard to port, naturally they're not going to develop something specifically for it

    The list can go on, but really Google just didn't understand what they were trying to do. The tech was pretty neat, but they didn't understand that what they were offering simply wasn't the way people wanted to play games or develop games for.

    Combine this with the fact that _everyone_ (devs and players alike) knew that it had a limited window to be successful before Google shut it down due to lack of $$$, and not having a strong showing from day 1 was not even a nail in the coffin, it was shoveling dirt atop the platform the moment it arrived.

    Google was never poised to disrupt gaming in my opinion -- what they were poised to do was to provide the datacenter and audience for developers to create their own vision of what Stadia should have been, but Google tried to make a video game platform, and instead made another entry in the "Failed Video Game console/platforms" lists that will be content for Youtube in the future.

    • nottorp 2 months ago

      > - People who play games are fiercely fanatic towards specific games/platforms (that the console wars still continue is very strange to me; preference sure, but the outright militant approach towards different platforms is just silly).

      Well people who just care which console has MOAR FPS deserve what they get.

      But as long as console exclusives still exist, there is an argument for a platform preference.

  • midislack 2 months ago

    Of course, there's also the inherent added lag.

  • animitronix 2 months ago

    Agreed, it was a dumb idea from the get

  • bitexploder 2 months ago

    Steam games I bought a decade ago are still in my library. Steam is trusty. Google is not.

    • echelon 2 months ago

      Nevermind Steam, nevermind Google, nevermind Apple.

      I'm sick that you can't buy ("license") something on one platform and then immediately use it on another.

      I understand that the platform costs and taxes are meant to recoup development and upkeep (to a certain extent), but it still pisses me off as a consumer.

      If I buy ("license") a game or movie on Google, I should be able to watch it on Netflix or play it on Steam.

      The whole walled garden "app store" system sucks.

      • seabriez 2 months ago

        Yeah, thats a HUGE downside to Apple, because they locked you into their AppStore you now suddenly have no rights to use the app on anything outside of an Apple device. That is very anti consumer and detrimental to everyone involved... except Apple.

        • threeseed 2 months ago

          There is no requirement to use the App Store on a Mac.

          And yet those programs do not magically work on Windows or Linux because that's not how computers work. Developers have to specifically target and build their programs for the devices they wish to support.

          And many apps (in particular SaaS ones) allow you to buy one license and use their program on whatever device they support. App Store doesn't stop you.

          • nirvdrum 2 months ago

            No, but I'm sure you're aware that publishers/developers can make versions that run on each platform and license them in more consumer-friendly ways. I've bought non-SaaS desktop apps that come with license codes for each platform. If not included, there's often a discount for buying licenses for multiple platforms. And this doesn't require me to create an account for phone-home license validation. That type of license bundling is not so easy* and definitely less common with walled gardens.

            * - I am taking developers at their word on this. I haven't sold anything on the Mac App Store.

          • 8note 2 months ago

            If you get some windows app, it's possible that you will be able to run it on Linux.

            If I can get it to run, licensing shouldn't be another road block

            • threeseed 2 months ago

              That's emulation. Apps don't just run anywhere without you doing this.

            • squeaky-clean 2 months ago

              In a parallel universe there's an Apple equivalent of WINE. It'd probably be called CIDER.

          • seabriez 2 months ago

            That's an extremely rose/favorable look towards Apple which is doing everything in it's power to put itself into the relationship between a developer and a customer (to charge 30% and limit, limit, lock, block). Thats very evil.

      • dmix 2 months ago

        How does this apply to Steam? They sell multi-platform games with a single licence which you can use on Linux/Mac/Windows.

        I don't really see the value in transferring my Steam games to GOG for example. So I don't really see what the criticism is here.

        Game store and some multiplayer integration is not that limiting. It's preferrable to every single game building their own awful mini-stores/platforms (like EAs and Ubisofts. Even's can be annoying and naggy).

        • counttheforks 2 months ago

          If a game exists on PC and a console like the PS5 then ideally your license would let you play on both. It's the same product, just sold on a different store.

          • ygra 2 months ago

            I would guess there's not enough people that want to play the same game on both console and PC to warrant pouring effort. Most people play a game only on one platform.

      • modeless 2 months ago

        If you buy a movie on Google (or YouTube), you can watch it on Apple and Amazon and etc. It's called Movies Anywhere and it's existed for a long time. Were you not aware?

        • counttheforks 2 months ago

          > Were you not aware?

          Never heard of that before. Googled it, and it appears to be an american only thing. Any suggestions for the rest of the world?

        • perch56 2 months ago

          * Open to U.S. residents only.

        • nixgeek 2 months ago

          Thanks, I’d never heard of Movies Anywhere. It only seems to cover about half my library but still super useful!

        • squeaky-clean 2 months ago

          Also applies to the physical versions of movies, there's a code inside the box. Maybe 3/4 of my blu-ray library is in MoviesAnywhere. But I will say I tend to stick to the popular stuff.

      • acomjean 2 months ago

        When I have something in my steam library I seem to be able to use it on any platform it runs on.

        My knowledge about this is limited to a couple board game programs I used to use on a Mac and now run on Linux.

        It’s not gog type freedom from drm but it seems to be cross platform. Well of course not on iOS….

      • beefsack 2 months ago

        I always wondered about the world where you buy a licence directly from a developer or publisher, and then paid for a content service to download the game from, such as Steam.

        I was also wondering if the licence could be some form of asymmetric key which could be used to "unlock" the game, but that might be a solution looking for a problem.

        I don't think this would ever work in reality, because it limits the ability of the delivery service to double dip.

      • nottorp 2 months ago

        > I'm sick that you can't buy ("license") something on one platform and then immediately use it on another.

        Except on Steam. Never buy your games on the app store. Get them on Steam and you get all platforms* (at least most of the time).

        * PC platforms of course. Hell will freeze over before you also get the console version.

    • lightedman 2 months ago

      If you own Alan Wake on Steam from when it was first released, you aren't playing the same game, now, guaranteed. Much of the music is gone due to the license time expiring. granted that's on the publisher and game studio, but Steam should have at least let you keep a copy from the valid licensing period.

      • squeaky-clean 2 months ago

        It actually got the music added back about a year ago, but from what I understand that's from a joint licensing deal for the Remaster. So maybe the original and remaster will lose the music again in 5 years?

        It's a bit weird because other games haven't had those issues. It's common for racing games to get delisted because of expired licenses, but if you purchased it that licensed content is yours to download forever. Every 2 years or so a Forza game has to get pulled and goes on sale for $1 for the final week.

        Edit: Doing some further digging it looks like it's because they kept selling Alan Wake after the music rights expired, so they had to push an update or delist the game. That's pretty crappy.

      • snickerbockers 2 months ago

        old builds being inaccessible is a big problem that i wish more people were aware of. Developers are able to make retroactive changes to their games and customers are left with no recourse. Although it's rare, I have seen developers abuse this to remove content from games. There's also a more common problem of developers accidentally releasing bad patches that negatively impact performance for some customers.

        • int_19h 2 months ago

          Old builds are often accessible on Steam via the "Betas" tab in game settings. E.g. for Audiosurf, this is how you get a version from before they had to kill YouTube integration.

    • MaxBarraclough 2 months ago

      Steam isn't perfect though. Years ago, there was a patch to a game to remove songs, presumably as a consequence of a licence issue. Obviously the disc-based console versions didn't face the same downgrade.

      • TylerE 2 months ago

        Why couldn’t they? Console games have had mandatory patches for years and years.

        Just because it’s on the disc doesn’t mean the binary has to load it.

        • MaxBarraclough 2 months ago

          I was thinking of the PS2, but you're right, modern consoles have patches.

          As for mandatory patches: you would at least have the option to play single-player offline without updating.

      • bitexploder 2 months ago

        That is a good point. Short of buying and holding the physical media Steam is the best thing for gamers IMO. Even physical media have problems. Eventually it won't run or work on Windows, yet steam games will often get updates to work and get bug fixes. AAA titles work a little differently these days and tend to be massive and are honestly not even done when released these days.

        • int_19h 2 months ago

          Good Old Games is the best thing for gamers. The only thing that Steam does better is the size of the catalog.

    • charcircuit 2 months ago

      Software I bought from Google on the play share a decode ago are still in my library.

  • vmoore 2 months ago

    I imagine, as with all Google products, it wasn't a suitable data point for them and didn't feed in some way to their ADs cash cow. Google nukes things that don't feed their ADs beast.

HungSu 2 months ago

As Google Stadia's target user, in my opinion a stronger reason Stadia died is because GeForce Now was a competing and better product.

GeForce Now allowed me to play the games I already own with a more powerful machine than I could buy myself, for just $10/month. Artifacts were noticeable but not enough for me to care. If I bought my own gaming PC later, I would be able to continue playing the game there. GeForce Now offered "Hey, you're playing Cyberpunk at 720p@25fps? Wanna play at 1080p@60fps for $10? And you can leave any time" And I said heck yes.

Stadia would have denied me the ability to continue playing on my own machine while charging me even more money. There are a bunch of stories of people with saved games trapped in Stadia. Google made no attempt to be better than the competition. It's like they're unaware of anything other than themselves.

  • copperx 2 months ago

    > Google made no attempt to be better than the competition. It's like they're unaware of anything other than themselves.

    This is the curse of Google products. They don't care about what the competion is doing.

    • techdragon 2 months ago

      Yeah. It’s like how one of the growing YouTube monetisation avenues is basically kept in a strait jacket. YouTube Membership or more specifically channel memberships, are a one way street, it all has to start with Google, YouTube is the video platform, the the point where I would pay a the damn extortion money, App Store style, to be able to sync a user that signed up off YouTube to a membership platform like Memberful or Patreon, over so their YouTube account has appropriate permissions… it’s a one way street though, they have a discord integration, and that’s basic the only useful feature that goes outside the weirdly hidden YouTube channel member extras pages that I continue to find people who join a channel to support it but don’t actually discover the extras! That’s how badly managed this is.

    • londons_explore 2 months ago

      They do care what the competition is doing, but the company is such a large and slow machine that it takes them many years to change course even slightly. that means when they see their competition doing something new and innovative, it takes many years to even get to the same point.

      • rTX5CMRXIfFG 2 months ago

        You don’t really know this, do you? You’re just forcing to see them at a certain light?

  • _Algernon_ 2 months ago

    Before Cyberpunk 2077's poor launch, I was looking into game streaming to play it and Geforce Now was the obvious choice. There really was no competition due to the lack of lock in. When users potentially have multiple thousands of dollars already invested in their game library over a period of >10 years, you better support playing with that library, especially when the competition already does.

    • eis 2 months ago

      I find it interesting that a service not having lock-in is actually a reason for people to adopt and stay with it. In an industry where lock-ins are common, these lock-ins also effectively become lock-outs.

      It is said the biggest motivator for people is fear and lock-in results in fear. It's powerful anti-marketing.

      • Jochim 2 months ago

        Consumers almost universally hate artificial industry lock-in though. I think it's pretty telling that the platforms that have endured either belong to a major publisher that can lock their catalogue behind the store, or are financed by another revenue stream.

        Epic in particular basically forced their way in by using Fortnite/Unreal money to fund a combination of price dumping and exclusivity agreements.

  • brianbreslin 2 months ago

    Wouldn't XBOX with gamepass for $25/month all in be a more compelling competition?

    • dmix 2 months ago

      It is yes arguably a better service in most ways and better integrated with both game studios, a TV console, and all the benefits of Xbox live community. Nut Nvidia's is arguably a closer direct competition to Stadia.

      Being a purely PC game (slash arcade) platform. As much as Xbox is trying to evolve and games being cross-console/PC is getting far more common the Xbox cloud platform is still largely just an extension of Xbox games.

      For ex: with Divinity and Pathfiner: WOTR they all had to release "Enhanced Editions" to support Xbox and it takes many years after the PC release to get a lot of PC games. It's not one-to-one.

      That said I see Xbox Cloud completely dominating this space. Their library, pricing, and service quality is A+

    • ThatPlayer 2 months ago

      It would depend on the games you play. For example Stadia got games like Assassin's Creed and Cyberpunk 2077 that Xbox Game Pass still doesn't. Their streaming service is still limited to Game Pass games only.

      • markedathome 2 months ago

        > Their streaming service is still limited to Game Pass games only.

        Earlier this year Microsoft announced[1] that they are going to be allowing cloud enabled games that you own to be played without them needing to be Gamepass games.

        [1] (section titled Get More Out of Your Xbox Game Pass Membership, just over halfway down)

    • coolspot 2 months ago

      It is actually line $35/year (for GP Ultimate) if you know magic words “conversion deal”.

  • wafriedemann 2 months ago

    GeforceNow looks cheap compared to a gaming PC, but it's quite expensive when compared to a console. Especially an XBOX Series S. Not having to pay a monthly fee was a benefit of Stadia imo.

  • BiteCode_dev 2 months ago

    +1. Why would I use stradia when I can stream a full windows machine with my whole game collection, do machine learning and use blender on

    Competition is good.

  • pacifika 2 months ago

    You can’t play the full steam library on GeForce now only selected steam games last time I checked

    • hedora 2 months ago

      Yeah; companies like paperspace offer an even better product. It’s just a windows VM with a video card. You have to install steam or cad software or whatever yourself.

KVFinn 2 months ago

There are advantages to game streaming but Google never really did anything with them, instead they just made a worse version of a console.

The marketing at the beginning was confusing. Everyone had the impression Stadia was like a Netflix for games. But it was almost the inverse, Stadia is a free gaming console but the games cost money. At the very least Google's number one pitch should have been "We're giving you a gaming console for free. You could buy a PS5 for $500 or you could play on Stadia for $0!" (In practice the free tier of Stadia didn't have the greatest quality but many people didn't even know Stadia had a free tier...)

Game streaming could have opened up new possibilities. Any YouTube game video could have a button for 'play instantly, one click' that loaded an already running Stadia session into a game-state with the player in a fun spot. YouTubers could have been able to hand off controls of their game session to viewers. "Okay GodGamer420 spamming in chat, if you think this boss is so easy, now you have control. Show us how it's done."

Even the lowest hanging fruit. The biggest advantage of game streaming is that it works on any device but Stadia didn't even work on most Android phones at launch, and for many months after.

  • TobyTheDog123 2 months ago

    >Any YouTube game video could have a button for 'play instantly, one click' that loaded an already running Stadia session into a game-state with the player in a fun spot. YouTubers could have been able to hand off controls of their game session to viewers.

    This is very true, and it sounds really good on paper, but it seems like anything that attempts to transition content consumers to participants fail.

    For example, Mixer had incredible low-latency technology and game integration, yet failed because (at least, I think) a lot of it was banking on that consumers would want to take control.

    For me, at least, this would never be the case. If I'm watching my favorite Twitch streamer, I don't really want to play, I want to watch them play and see their reactions. If I wanted to play the game they're playing, I would do so (in fact, I just bought Railbound because I saw the Twitch streamer Atrioc playing it)

    I think the line a lot of people have are small tokens of support (bits, donations, subscriptions), because many people don't want to be that involved.

    • skohan 2 months ago

      I actually thought this was the most interesting part of the Stadia value prop. If they could have made gaming as ubiquitous as YouTube videos I don't see how they wouldn't win.

    • Ekaros 2 months ago

      Also there is the whole scaling issue. What if you have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of viewers who want to take control? That just seems unworkable. Actual stream interaction has to be build from ground up and even then it usually takes away from the game when not in place.

  • thrwyoilarticle 2 months ago

    > Any YouTube game video could have a button for 'play instantly, one click' that loaded an already running Stadia session into a game-state with the player in a fun spot.

    I think the tech that this feature requires would be a huge thing for computing in general. Easy, lightweight state-saves for any program. Quick hibernation for any game. Imagine how much easier the Windows update problem would be if users knew they could open everything as it was before in a few seconds.

  • majani 2 months ago

    In gaming, Free has some bad connotations, especially for console gamers who are Stadia's target market

aeturnum 2 months ago

The thing that I find odd about Google is that it feels like they drink their own coolaid. Reports I've seen suggest that nearly no one knew this was coming. Teams who have been working on ports for months were blind-sided. Employees generally did not know.

It just seems like a very poor way to run a business. It feels sloppy and needlessly messy. Especially when providing soft landings is so possible for a company with the absurd revenue that Google gets. It feels like a double warning: Google will withdraw suddenly, whenever they like, and they won't use one iota of their largess to help you deal with the consequences of their actions.

  • cududa 2 months ago

    Obviously this isn't the same thing, but yes - this seems right. But, I remember my first time going to Google's campus in 2010 and connecting to their guest wifi network. 1Gbps! Insanely cool! Pulled up gmail and google docs and it worked PERFECTLY! My first thought was "...oh this is why their webapps suck - they have no idea how it's being used in the real world where latency is above 10ms"

    • Dalewyn 2 months ago

      For a specific example of latency incompetency that immediately came to mind while reading this: Chrome.

      Chrome will not run properly on first execution, as in ran for the first time after a cold start of the computer, when executed off a HDD. Why? Because the HDD takes too long to read off data. Chrome expects SSD latency and fuck your computer if it's not residing on one.

      When executed off a HDD, I've found Chrome only runs properly from second execution onwards after the underlying operating system has cached most of the stuff Chrome wants in RAM in anticipation of subsequent executions.

      I want to say this is optimization for ever more powerful hardware, but I'm inclined to say it's also sheer incompetency that Chrome literally can't fallback gracefully if it doesn't get data as quickly as it wants.

      • cududa 2 months ago

        Made some offhanded comment about Chrome perf on Twitter earlier this year and a Google friend replied something like "Well, pretty much the whole Chrome team just got upgraded to local test machines with at least 32gb of RAM. Godspeed everyone."

        • q7xvh97o2pDhNrh 2 months ago

          Makes you wonder what would happen if companies occasionally did the exact opposite to their engineers.

          "Oh, you know that 32 GB machine you've got? We're replacing it with this new 16 GB one. If the test suite is too slow on your new machine, I guess you'll just have to make the tests faster."

          • Our_Benefactors 2 months ago

            What would happen is those engineers would rightly be concerned that their leadership had lost their marbles, and would quickly find new jobs elsewhere. These kinds of “fun” thought experiments don’t pan out in the real world.

            • cududa 2 months ago

              You having fun/ being able to develop fast isn't your customer's problem/ the problem's of people actually using the things you build. Windows Vista devs with 8GB of DDR2 when real world customers had 512mb of DDR learned this lesson hard.

              EDIT: Also - client side native software and web dev are insanely different. Web/ serverside people seem to disregard this. Constantly.

              • Our_Benefactors 2 months ago

                > You having fun/ being able to develop fast isn't your customer's problem/ the problem's of people actually using the things you build.

                I cannot parse this sentence. What does vista having its minimum requirements poorly defined have to do with being forced to develop on underpowered hardware?

                If my boss says “we are giving you a worse machine because we think that will make you write better code” I am out of there. There are plenty of ways to emulate weaker hardware and do performance testing and to make it a development priority that don’t involve intentionally hamstringing your engineers.

                • Dalewyn 2 months ago

                  >I cannot parse this sentence. What does vista having its minimum requirements poorly defined have to do with being forced to develop on underpowered hardware?

                  Basically: An end-user has computer with 4GB of DDR3. Devs for <software> wrote for and tested on a machine with 64GB of DDR5. <Software> ends up running like shit on end-user's computer.

                  It isn't the end-user's problem that the software runs like shit, because the devs programmed to an unrealistic common denominator. The end-user is going to find <software> that doesn't run like shit on his computer, and the devs only have themselves to blame for losing a customer because they were so out of tune with reality.

                  • jen20 2 months ago

                    > It isn't the end-user's problem that the software runs like shit

                    It may not be their fault but it almost certainly is their problem…

                • cududa 2 months ago

                  Tell me you've never developed native applications outside an iOS simulator, or OS development without telling me...

                  • Our_Benefactors 2 months ago

                    Do you actually have something to add to the discussion? Or you just want to take potshots at me?

                    You’re all over the place. Please explain why you think using underpowered hardware is the only legitimate way to write software that works on that hardware.

                    • giantrobot 2 months ago

                      You can write your code on a nice fast machine. A dev machine should be as fast as possible. Those devs with their big fast machines should be required to run and test on much lower spec machines though.

                      Testing only in a VM on a beefy dev box leads to terribly performing software on customer machines. There's a multitude of performance problems that only come up when a system starts paging to disk, a machine has a HDD, or a CPU gets maxed out. These issues will be completely occulted on a dev machine with tons of RAM, 16 cores, and an NVMe disk.

                      Far too many developers have the beefy dev box with no requirements to test on more prosaic configurations. Even limiting a VM's CPU and memory isn't a good environment for performance testing because it's still faster than actual low end hardware.

                      • Ekaros 2 months ago

                        And it can't be cost issue, the crappiest machines are some cheap laptops from any big box retailer. Okay, that fact itself might make getting them harder, but still. Just buy a once a year a low few hundred euro laptop and add to pile. Rotate in 5-10 years or as they fail.

                      • cududa 2 months ago

                        Preach my friend

                    • cududa 2 months ago

                      Yes, I started this discussion thread you're responding to. No, there isn't really a way to do native development without experiencing what your customers do. Build locally on the high powered one, run on your lower spec'd machine. This isn't a potshot. This is me being annoyed that 15 years later, people keep making the same mistakes of not testing on "real world" hardware. Your VM isn't a real user representation. Stop thinking so.

                    • hinkley 2 months ago

                      I think the problem is the either or nature. One dev one box is a mistake. The team should have a few they share.

                      In particular I often fight the slowest machine leaving the office. That should stay for a long time, set aside for testing.

            • copperx 2 months ago

              It's a matter of tact. They could say, "Here are your 32GB RAM machines. Your old one? You get to keep it too. Make sure Chrome works perfectly on your old machine."

              • cududa 2 months ago

                This is how it should go. Not setting the high perf machine as a benchmark.

            • Pelam 2 months ago

              At least not every engineer. I love using older machines and any chance to make things work in a hardware friendly way.

              I have to say, I appreciate the insane expertise browser engine developers have in making JS and layouting run fast.

          • ayewo 2 months ago

            This is what CI (Continuous Integration) and CD (Continuous Delivery) systems were designed for. If certain tests exceed the performance budget of a low-resource environment in CI/CD, the engineer responsible will be required to fix it before a release can ship.

          • ip26 2 months ago

            You’d have less fallout if you just delay giving them upgrades long past the point they are due.

          • mhh__ 2 months ago

            This is what CI can be used for

        • calderwoodra 2 months ago

          32gb is hilariously low for Google, my machine has 196gb of ram.

          • cududa 2 months ago

            bragging about having 196GB in a thread about real world performance is exactly why this thread happened

            • vkou 2 months ago

              No, this thread happened because not enough effort was put into automating performance testing.

              Which, unlike making everyone develop on palm-pilots, is the correct solution to performance problems.

            • calderwoodra 2 months ago

              Wasn't meant to be a brag, just letting you know that 32gb of ram is on the low end for most employees.

          • ahartmetz 2 months ago

            I can tell from the build time memory requirement of Blink.

      • password4321 2 months ago

        I was just whining how when Chrome-based browsers first open up on my 5400rpm hdd, I paste in the URL and press Enter, then it loads the default home page and wipes out what I pasted... "you're goin' nowhere!"

        • MereInterest 2 months ago

          Opening Google maps, the text entry is editable far, far before when it should be. As soon as the page loads, I can start typing. Then the JavaScript starts running, and helpfully selects the text entry, placing the cursor at the beginning of the text field. Then some cached suggestion loads, inserting some suggested search for the area being viewed.

          The end result is that anything I type gets jumbled or overwritten multiple times before the page settles down and can actually be used.

          • int_19h 2 months ago

            This is the general curse of async UI these days, and it's everywhere from the web to native desktop apps to the OS itself.

            Obviously, it can be done right, but it seems that most devs who are so eager to jump on the async bandwagon have no idea that they have to make that effort now.

        • copperx 2 months ago

          That's far from being only a Chrome problem. That extremely irritating behavior is going to be with us until OS developers see the light and we get hard/soft realtime GUIs.

      • doubled112 2 months ago

        I've seen this exact behaviour in a few Electron apps on a Raspberry Pi 400.

        Make sure nothing else is running, start the application, expect failure, start it again, works as expected.

      • polio 2 months ago

        In the first-boot-on-HDD scenario, why would latency make the program fail to start at all? I'd expect it to just start slowly.

        • herendin 2 months ago

          Unanticipated race condition perhaps? A process takes 2 minutes instead of 5 seconds, and then a later part of the startup fails because it has no way to handle the totally unexpected lack of data

        • rasz 2 months ago

          For starters Chrome will not wait for extensions to load/initialize. Its possible in case of HDD there might be more things that simply time out/chrome disables because it doesnt want to wait.

        • cududa 2 months ago

          JIT. It's using a "known state"/ cached blob to start then quickly falls apart as it does it's "SSD expected" memory management voodoo.

      • RedShift1 2 months ago

        This seems weird to me, can you define "run properly"?

      • MikusR 2 months ago

        Chrome also runs a full built in antivirus scan of your whole PC on first launch after updating.

    • liquidgecka 2 months ago

      Okay, something I can speak too! (Though I left in 2009 but it's close enough)

      I was a SRE on Gmail, and I can assure you that the experience for devs was not great intentionally. We had a pool of dedicated machines that ran various versions specifically used for development. I made sure those where always on our worst clusters (slowest CPUs and disks) so the dev experience was always the worst case scenario for performance. :-)

      • cududa 2 months ago

        Would love to hear more about that! I feel like there was a very specific period between 2010 and 2012 when web app stuff just sucked but Google Docs etc was great fun ~2006-2009

    • herpderperator 2 months ago

      How did they have a 1Gbps Wi-Fi AP in 2010, and how did you have a 1Gbps Wi-Fi client in 2010? Wi-Fi is barely 1Gbps over a decade later.

      • cududa 2 months ago

        Dualband bonded 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi 4. No idea if it was effective speed or reported.

      • gsich 2 months ago

        Wouldn't matter much for the usecase that was presented in parent. Latency can still be at ~1ms.

    • bluedino 2 months ago

      You'd think everyone working from home where they have real-world internet speeds would fix that.

      • cududa 2 months ago

        Well people weren't working from home in 2010

  • adrr 2 months ago

    You have to pretty naive to not realize that Google could flip directions any day. Look what happened to Nest? They went from being apart of Google, getting kicked out, and back to being apart of Google in a short time frame. Or the pixel that went from being a flagship phone to being a mid tier phone and then back to a flagship phone in a 3 year period. There’s more examples like Google fiber which stopped expanding in 2016 to adding a bunch of new cities this year. Leadership flips positions all the time.

    They don’t have a real vision for the company. All they know how to do is search and ads.

    • teaearlgraycold 2 months ago

      They do have video streaming down. YouTube is still a great product IMO.

      • Dalewyn 2 months ago

        Youtube is not great by any objective measure, but they are the only worthwhile player in town.

        • lotsofpulp 2 months ago

          That seems like it is great, along the measure of “economically viable”.

  • vkou 2 months ago

    > Reports I've seen suggest that nearly no one knew this was coming

    When you're making a decision like this, you have to go full steam ahead until you decide to stop. Because not going full steam ahead compromises you in the event that you choose not to cancel.

    It's like a negotiation. If you're thinking of completely folding to your counterparty, the last thing you ever want to do is tell them that they have you on the ropes.

    • Pelam 2 months ago

      And like in any game of minds, it goes into a guessing game: ”Are they thinking of X? They would never admit, but perhaps this and that can be interpreted as signal for X.”

      This is fine for some situations, like games, and can even be fun.

      It is not ”fun” if you are a paying customer and and X is ”Suddenly kill the service I’m using.”

      The only remedy to this is trust. (Which a simple short term zero sum game theoretic analysis does not account for.)

  • Thorrez 2 months ago

    >they won't use one iota of their largess to help you deal with the consequences of their actions.

    Google's refunding all Stadia game and hardware purchases.

    Disclosure: I work at Google, but not on Stadia.

    • mach1ne 2 months ago

      IMO no need for a disclosure if you're just stating a single fact.

      • Thorrez 2 months ago

        Company policy requires me state this anytime I say something positive about Google. Otherwise there's the risk of it coming off as astroturfing.

      • DharmaPolice 2 months ago

        I think it's better to err on the side of caution. By stating that fact you're defending Google, might be open that you work for the organisation.

      • mediumiqsad 2 months ago

        It’s intentional, it’s a way to brag. They don’t need to at all. There’s a reason why nobody at other companies does that - people at other companies are normal and don’t think they’re gods gift to the world.

        • DharmaPolice 2 months ago

          If you search for "Disclosure I work at Microsoft" you get 300+ results.

        • Thorrez 2 months ago

          It's required by company policy. Otherwise the comments could be seen as astroturfing. The policy is so strict that it specifically says you need to put a disclosure in every individual tweet, a disclosure in your Twitter bio isn't sufficient. I think that part of the rule is broken frequently though.

          • mach1ne 2 months ago

            Interesting. Is it limited to Twitter? I can see the company fearing a backlash in social medias where you're operating under your own name (and thus can be traced back to Google) but what about anonymous and semi-anonymous forums like HN?

            • Thorrez 2 months ago

              I re-read it, and it actually doesn't explicitly mention Twitter. It does mention how you can disclose using hashtags, which is why I misremembered it as talking about Twitter, because Twitter and hashtags are so linked in my mind.

              It looks like it applies to basically any online post/comment, regardless of if it's anonymous.

    • aeturnum 2 months ago

      Yes, but what I am talking about is the professional side. Sibling comments are talking about the Nov 1st launch games who were in the dark. Obviously Google can make it right - but that doesn't seem like what they are going to do.

      • Thorrez 2 months ago

        It looks like Google is going to make it right:

        I don't really know if there's a better way to do it. If you're going to shut down and refund everyone's purchases, you need to disable purchases at the exact moment you make the announcement, otherwise people will buy things for semi-free knowing they'll get refunded in the future. If you tell game devs before the general public, it's going to leak out. If it leaks out you either need to lie and say it's not shutting down, or announce that it is shutting down, in which case the game devs didn't really get much advance notice.

  • manicdee 2 months ago

    Reader, Wave, G+, Hangouts, Stadia and soon RCS.

    Never build a business on a Google project, only ever use Google as a side hustle.

    • rippercushions 2 months ago

      RCS is a failed telco standard, not a Google invention, and Apple refusing to adopt it is probably the single biggest reason it never took off.

      • hedora 2 months ago

        RCS is (was?) designed so telcos can charge per message, requires (and is tied to) a phone number, and end-to-end encryption is an afterthought.

        Is there even an RCS client for iOS? There is for signal…

    • chrisweekly 2 months ago

      why use it for a side hustle?

      • copperx 2 months ago

        OP said "as a side hustle", not for. Perhaps OP resells Google services or Cloud offerings?

  • thrwyoilarticle 2 months ago

    If staff were told early it would be at the top of HN and Blind 10 minutes later. Same for if developers were told to wind down porting. In both cases, customers would be upset about being able to spend money on a service without being told it's circling the drain. There's no clean way of doing it without telling everyone at once and in that case, immediately shutting the store and giving a deadline in the future is the option that gives the most advance warning.

    I also guess there are legal complications about telling employees early. Google employees are Google investors.

  • skybrian 2 months ago

    The announcement seems sudden but actually it's with about three months notice. It does seem a little short, but how much would it help to drag it out further? How much time do you want to spend on a project that's shutting down?

    • shakna 2 months ago

      There were games preparing to launch on November 1st.

      Those should never have been approved, if the thing was shutting down. In those cases, it's normal to stop making approvals for new games, for anything expected to finish within six months of your termination date. You don't necessarily need to make an announcement yet, but you shouldn't have anyone expecting a launch when the service is dead or dying.

      • rippercushions 2 months ago

        Big companies are quite paranoid about leaking shutdowns even internally, because they don't want the press to know, customers to start asking questions, team members leaving, etc etc.

        I once casually speculated to a director that product X felt like it was going to get the axe. He was visibly freaked out and responded with a fervent Shakespearean lady-doth-protest-too-much denial, complete with demanding to know where I'd heard this from. Inevitably, it turns out that X's days were already numbered, but he already knew and I didn't.

        • shakna 2 months ago

          That's true... But when you act as a publisher, then you're required to take the risk of leaking something's final days.

          When you approve something for launch, and then kill the product before it can either launch or launch effectively, then you become liable for the investment in the launched failure. Google can absolutely be sued by those that just had a failed launch. They misrepresented themselves. This risk, tends to be higher for the company, than allowing people to guess that the product is about to die, because game products tend to be rather large investments.

          • hedora 2 months ago

            Were there stadia exclusives? What were people doing to make it ready?

            I can “launch” (pun intended) AAA title on a cloud VM in the time it takes for steam to download the game.

            I haven’t used stadia; honestly curious.

            • shakna 2 months ago

              I honestly don't know. But every developer I've seen talking about publishing on Stadia, also talked about working with the team, so there were definite considerations that they needed to take into account.

              There's stories like this [0] which suggests that the performance for Stadia was different than other platforms you might deploy for. The threading behaviour is a little bit different than just a VM, which is to be expected, but can come out surprising. So there's probably Stadia-specific patching for different games.

              [0] "Stadia Adventures in slow server code on Unity"

  • ShamelessC 2 months ago

    This strains plausibility. Do you want to cite these reports you mention?

linsomniac 2 months ago

Personally, I got an offer of a free Stadia controller from Google, took them up on it. It also included an offer for several games free. I searched through the list of games and, honestly, couldn't tell one from the other. They all seemed to be basically the same thing, some sort of FP adventure. My Stadia controller never ended up showing up, but the games were so uninteresting that I never pursued it. My BIL ordered a free one the same time I did, he ended up getting his. He played it for a few weeks then offered to send it to me because he wasn't that into it either. He's a HUGE game fan.

So, I think Stadia died for reasons other than trust of Google.

  • bushbaba 2 months ago

    Game developers lacked trust in Google, and didn't want to invest on the platform.

    So lack of trust also prevented Google from getting that huge game library.

    • cced 2 months ago

      Sounds like Google is finally reaping the benefits of all those shutdowns.

  • xxs 2 months ago

    >but the games were so uninteresting that I never pursued it.

    Here - no one wants to work with google on this one. They have to port their games to linux at the least (which is amazing on its right own).

  • HollywoodZero 2 months ago

    You could also just use an Xbox controller, right? I mean, I'd rather use that than the Stadia controller.

    • brirec 2 months ago

      If you streamed Stadia to your web browser, sure, you could use an Xbox controller. The real feature of the Stadia controller was that it connected directly to the Stadia servers to minimize latency (and load on your computer), instead of connecting to your computer using USB or Bluetooth and having your browser relay inputs. You’d initially set the controller up using your phone and Bluetooth to bootstrap a Wi-Fi connection, and from then on it would talk to the servers over Wi-Fi and TCP/IP.

      As far as I understand it, Amazon Luna’s official controller does the same thing.

      • dontlaugh 2 months ago

        That doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. You reduce latency by removing Wi-Fi entirely. The latency between the controller and a machine sending to Google is comparatively minor. And that machine can have a wired network.

      • ndiddy 2 months ago

        AFAIK that means that all of those Stadia controllers are ewaste now unless Google releases a firmware update that allows them to be paired as Bluetooth.

        • cmeacham98 2 months ago

          You can use them as a wired controller with the existing firmware (although I agree it would be ideal if Google released an update adding bluetooth functionality as well).

        • NathanielK 2 months ago

          They have USB-C ports. You can always just plug them in and use them as wired controllers.

urthor 2 months ago

The problem wasn't trust at all.

Nobody in the gaming industry trusts anyone.

Customers don't trust developers, see "never pre-order anything."

Developers don't trust publishers, "executive meddling via focus groups."

Publishers don't trust each other. The difference is publishers have lawyers so they write legal contracts to fix that.

Google, Did, Not, Produce, The, Goods.


Their service was light on content and offered terrible value for money.

  • chii 2 months ago

    stadia would've worked if it didn't charge per title.

    A subscription, which allowed you access to the entire library of games in stadia, akin to netflix, is a compelling product.

    • inerte 2 months ago

      I think I will say this for the 3rd time in HN and I look like a shill, but Xbox Cloud is awesome. It’s exactly what you described!

      • hedora 2 months ago

        Yeah; but I can’t be bothered to log into my xbox. It invariably takes me over 45 minutes of reading forum posts and poking around obscure microsoft sites.

        It would probably be better if I plugged it in more often, but it pisses me off so much I usually stick it back in a box once it accepts my password.

        • solardev 2 months ago

          You don't need an Xbox for the subscription. You can play it on a PC or stream games to a browser. It's like Stadia, just better.

    • zarzavat 2 months ago

      Games require a lot of upfront investment. Games are not like music where top hits are routinely created in a day or two. Nobody is making a game on the off-chance that they will collect enough pennies from plays on a streaming service. Anybody making a game, be it indie or AAA, is investing years and $$$, and they need that big payday on release.

      Even Netflix mostly funds their own content. A “Netflix for games” would involve Google funding exclusive games to be made for their platform.

      • xxs 2 months ago

        >Google funding exclusive games to be made for their platform.

        Stadia had their own first party games that they canceled rather early - Feb 2021, year and two/three months after launch. The writing was on the wall. Stadia was a failure through and through, and they knew it.

      • chii 2 months ago

        you're just saying that they couldn't have done a subscription gaming service because the business model doesn't work.

        Well, the current situation is that stadia is defunct, because their business model doesn't work!

        I'm saying that i reckon an alternative business model such as a subscription service for games would've worked, but require much more up front investments. Epic games have managed to attract a large dev following using incentives like grants (in exchange for exclusivity). Google's pockets is much deeper than Epic; obviously, google isn't really ready to invest in the stadia platform or make it succeed commercially - it's likely no more than a technology demonstration, something that someone at google intended to further their careers (like all things cancelled at google).

        The branding of google services is highly tarnished by now. If you are a business, you will not purchase any google services, short of the monopoly on advertising.

      • noncoml 2 months ago

        MS does it on Xbox. Not just released games, but they have a decent collection.

      • arduinomancer 2 months ago

        What do you mean, it already exists?

        Xbox Gamepass or Playstation Plus

        Or 3rd party via Amazon Luna

  • mort96 2 months ago

    I trust Steam or the PlayStation store that if I buy a game for $80, I can play that game for many, many years.

    I wouldn't trust a Google product with the same.

    Stadia was a bad product, but a lack of trust (combined with a business model which requires trust) is certainly part of it.

  • int_19h 2 months ago

    > Customers don't trust developers, see "never pre-order anything."

    I've been buying games on Steam since 2006. The "never pre-order anything" take is overblown, IMO. Or rather, it is the default when you don't have a specific list of brands you trust to deliver (i.e. it's the attitude that a new gamer should start with) - but such list does accumulate over the years.

    So, no. Trust does matter, and Google lacks trust specifically on the matter of not abandoning things.

  • thiht 2 months ago

    > see "never pre-order anything."

    I preorder things all the time and have never been disappointed. Granted I specifically avoided some preorders (Cyberpunk comes to mind) because it was obvious it was gonna be a shot show at launch

invader 2 months ago

It died because it solved the problem nobody really had. It's Startup 101.

Who said hardware is the problem? Modern consoles are relatively cheap, especially considering modern $60 price tags on games. So why Stadia tried to solve that?

I'm sure Google has a lot of brilliant engineers who can build a state-of-the-art streaming platform that can leverage existing Google cloud infrastructure. But that's all it is - a brilliant piece of technology nobody really needs. And not that innovative as well - I've met a bunch of game streaming startups back at Jan 2016 CES, something like two years prior the launch of Stadia, so the idea has been around for quite a while.

Hardcore gamers are buying a lot of overpriced gaming gear all the time. I can't see how people spending thousands of $ on tuned hardware suddenly would want to change all that on a faceless streaming platform. Ownership and belonging is a big part of that subculture.

Stadia could make sense for a casual gamer who doesn't want to invest into expensive hardware. But games a casual player plays are not GPU-heavy and work fine on any relatively modern platform.

Too basic for a hardcore gamer, too powerful and demanding for a casual one. The Stadia's fate was sealed.

  • ktzar 2 months ago

    Sporadic gamers who don't have the space or money to have a $400 console permanently using space in their living rooms. I played RDR2 on Stadia for 2 months. Then didn't use it again until I got my next game, a few months later.

    I rather pay a bit more for games without the burden of having a console, or a gaming pc to be honest.

    It solved a problem for me. Until my kids are not old enough to have a PS (whatever the number is in 6 years) I won't have a console able to run top tier games

    • hedora 2 months ago

      My cloud gaming vm costs < $10 a month, runs any windows compatible game, and can also run realtime raytracing cad software, etc.

      Stadia had none of those properties.

      • pas 2 months ago

        can you share the name of the provider?

    • ddorian43 2 months ago

      > Sporadic gamers who don't have the space or money to have a $400 console permanently

      Do you not have a computer/laptop? That's supposed to also play games. Maybe you chose the wrong computer (apple).

      • killerstorm 2 months ago

        Imagine people don't want a big expensive bulky hot laptop to play games, but want something smaller for work, and pay for a service to play a game without hearing fan noise.

  • Version467 2 months ago

    The idea has been around for even longer. The first service I remember (and afaik they were actually the first) was onlive. Launched in 2010.

    They had already nailed the tech then. Latency was acceptable and so were compression artifacts. But they eventually failed and so did every other subsequent service that tried to do the same thing.

    Not only does it solve a problem that barely anyone has, it’s also insanely expensive to run. I don’t think any of these services ever had a clear path to profitability.

    • invader 2 months ago

      Yep, it all comes down to have enough gamers to afford expensive cloud infrastructure. And a regular geo-distribution of computing resources is not working well in this case.

      Let's assume the usage peaks on Friday eve in LA area. The LA resource pool must have enough capacity for the peak. And on Saturday early morning that usage drops almost to zero. Now we might want to reuse freed resources to serve another currently active user pool, maybe in Tokyo. But we are dealing with highly specialized cloud resources not that easily reusable. You can't use LA servers to serve users in Tokyo - the latency will be too high.

      Now we need to deploy our resources near all big urban population centres for all target markets. And these resources would stay mostly unused because of the latency and usage patterns (unless we're going to mine crypto with unused GPUs). And once we move out of densely populated areas, the problem becomes bigger.

      So it is really hard to see how that can be economically feasible.

labster 2 months ago

It’s the final day of the free tier of Google Apps they promised they would never take away from me. I run a web search where the engine ignores my excluded terms[1]. Sad. But the I log into Gmail. Another redesign, thank goodness! Too bad I can’t XMPP message my friends to tell them about it.


  • modeless 2 months ago

    Are you talking about the free lifetime Google Apps for Your Domain? They did announce that they were canceling it, but they reversed course and you can still keep it by pressing this button:

    I actually closed my account when they first announced the cancellation, which made things more difficult and I had to contact support to get it back (I was successful). But if you haven't done that, I believe all you need to do is press that button.

    • ogennadi 2 months ago

      Thanks. I'd already started paying for it, and now it looks like I won't have to anymore.

    • jasonjs 2 months ago

      I've been trying to press that button for my own Google Apps account. It simply doesn't work.

      • modeless 2 months ago

        It only works if you originally had the lifetime free apps for your domain, and you haven't transitioned to another offering already. If you did, then you have to contact support to transition back.

        • int_19h 2 months ago

          Beware of the leopard!

  • cwillu 2 months ago

    I swear the excluded terms are interpreted as “not this word, but still related to it”

  • krackers 2 months ago

    Strictly speaking, aren't the results for "49ers -football -nfl" correct if using literal term exclusion? None of those pages have the term football or nfl. But I see what you mean in principle, Google seems all-to-eager to use fancy NLP and knowledge graph to rewrite queries, so it would be fair if they exposed a way to exclude categories as well.

  • pram 2 months ago

    There is actually a free tier. I was confused too, but you have to insert payment and then change your subscription to the free one afterwards.

    • cwillu 2 months ago

      There's actually a button on the “show me the options” page that lets you declare you're actually a person, without entering CC info.

    • jfengel 2 months ago

      I'm not so sure. I used that months ago, and they're still sending me $0 bills that sure look like they're about to become real bills.

      I just clicked your link and it says "you already have the no cost option". So we'll see what happens next month.

    • zerocrates 2 months ago

      I definitely didn't have to pretend to pay them when I elected this option, you just affirmed you were using the account for personal use and everything stayed the same basically.

  • aerotwelve 2 months ago

    After starting to ignore the "not" operator, I can't wait until Google decides it no longer has to listen to the double quote "exact phrase" operator so I can finally ditch it for good.

    • s1artibartfast 2 months ago

      Double quote is long gone for me on Google.

      Fails to exclude results without the text, and ignores known results with it.

      I suppose they just expect us to eat the dogfood we are served

    • solardev 2 months ago

      It already doesn't

bastard_op 2 months ago

I tried to use Stadia, as a long-time paid user with a gsuite account I use for my personal account, they wouldn't let me as an "enterprise user". I spit on their future grave then, and I spit on it now - it was destined to die. Steam actually embraces linux with Proton to make windows games work. As a full-time linux user for ~20 years, bless Valve's soul.

  • monlockandkey 2 months ago

    Linux is what killed stadia. They have to get developers onboard to port their games. Getting big games ported cost them millions upon millions. If they embraced windows, they would have a huge library just like Geforce now. Linux killed stadia imo.

    • hedora 2 months ago

      Surely, they just used proton, right? Source code is here:

      • monlockandkey 2 months ago

        Proton I don't think existed with Stadia. Or there might be a latency overhead translating DX to vulkan

        • hedora 2 months ago

          That sounds self-inflicted then; they could have filled their library with 1,000's of games by collaborating with steam.

yyyk 2 months ago

Stadia died because the business model made no sense. The service was squarely targeted at AAA gamers. However, it was a poor deal for AAA gamers and (much more importantly) a horrible deal for AAA game companies.

The deal for AAA companies was: Port your game for an entirely different OS/API, pay the Google tax and be subject to Google reviews. But you can't treat a game streaming service like a Play Store. AAA game companies have way more power and money than the typical mobile app developer, and will fight you even on mobile where GoogleApple is strong (see Epic). No way they want the Play Store experience when they can avoid it by going to the competition. So Google had to bribe and bribe. Eventually it became depply unprofitable, and Google had to pull the plug.

Was there any way to avoid that?

A) Make the service more accessible to casuals. Like by having a search bar, a subscription model and making some Windows compatibility layer so indies could more easily port. But there's no way Google's ego could accept a service not targeted at AAAAAA.

B) Make 1st party studios and show capabilities only cloud gaming could have. Force AAA companies to your service to compete. This requires investment for a good time with uncertain rewards and possibly no promotion. We're talking about Google here.

C) Pivot to a white-label service and give AAA companies a way better deal. This is what Google is trying to do. Of course, there's no reason to keep Stadia in that case.

  • xxs 2 months ago

    > Make 1st party studios and show capabilities only cloud gaming could have

    They started with 1st party game studios, they shut the bit more than a year after the launch.

sp332 2 months ago

I mean that's part of it, but Google really worked to kill it too. Like they spun up a whole game studio, hired people to work on games for two years, then cancelled the whole studio. That's not just negligence or trust issues, they took years of work from developers working on games for the platform and threw it in the trash.

  • sva_ 2 months ago

    I would hate it if I worked on something for n years and then it just gets binned.

    I imagine that if you work on such stuff at Google, you probably need the attitude that you're only there to earn money. If you get too involved, it would suck big time if it got thrown out.

    So I would think that devs not getting too involved with what they work on, will probably reflect in product quality.

j-kent 2 months ago

Imagine if you had a Netflix subscription, and still had to pay for every movie you watched. This is what Stadia felt like to me.

  • ThatPlayer 2 months ago

    I think that was a failure on their marketing: you didn't actually need to pay for the subscription for the games.

    • Gigachad 2 months ago

      Which made me trust it even less. How is it a sustainable business model for them to run the hardware and platform for the next 10 years without recurring revenue.

      • Dalewyn 2 months ago

        For large corporations and companies, it is entirely reasonable to have a couple businesses run red ink which are propped up by other businesses running surplus black ink.

        For a non-Google example: Costco and their roasted whole chickens they sell for $5 USD each. There is no fucking way Costco makes a profit, let alone break even, on those, but they do it and run the red ink anyway because the customers that come to buy them will also grab other stuff on the way out, generating black ink to offset and surpass the red ink.

      • utopcell 2 months ago

        It was akin to the freemium model: You could play your games at 1080p and subscribe to play them at higher 4k quality.

      • solardev 2 months ago

        To be fair, 10 years in human time is like 1.5 years in Google time.

  • chrisseaton 2 months ago

    Streaming Netflix is relatively simple - each customer just needs to read a stored stream. I think they even put dedicated servers at edges like ISPs, so it's not even on the public internet!

    Streaming a game requires an actual real GPU being (I guess) exclusively used by that customer while they're playing. Not feasible to put those in edge locations.

    Completely different set of costs.

    • snek_case 2 months ago

      They could run multiple games per GPU depending on the resolution and how demanding the games are, but yes, it's definitely more expensive than just serving a stream.

      • thrwyoilarticle 2 months ago

        GPU multitasking is a relatively immature capability.

    • solardev 2 months ago

      Somehow Nvidia, Shadow, PSNow, Xbox Cloud, Luna, Paper, etc. manage to do this...

      • chrisseaton 2 months ago

        Manage to do what? Use edge locations? I'm not sure they do - where did you read that?

        • solardev 2 months ago

          Not sure about on the edge, but the problem of gpu allocation isn't a dealbreaker. All the other steaming companies do it and have yet to go bankrupt. Heck, OnLive was doing it ten years ago on much worse hardware and internet.

  • tgsovlerkhgsel 2 months ago

    Isn't that basically the model Disney has?

    • maximus-decimus 2 months ago

      Most titles on Disney+ are included. Just not the very very new stuff, sometimes.

jillesvangurp 2 months ago

No, it died because it was mismanaged as a product. There were technical issues when it launched but more importantly, there never was a good strategy for content. So, the catalogue was a combination of expensive and lacking in titles. I tried it out briefly because on paper it wasn't a bad idea. Except the free games were mostly not worth the money and the paid games were the same price as actually buying the games. But without the option of actually installing and owning them. And the one game I tried disconnected after a few minutes. So, I pulled the plug on the free trial.

Google has had a long history of messing up on the content front. They've made a lot of false starts with Youtube to get into paid content and it just never took off. Netflix is raking in billions from paid subscriptions. Not so much with Youtube. Few people pay for the premium content because there hardly is any worth paying for.

Where Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Netflix and others succeeded, Google failed repeatedly to get a compelling offering of content together. It's a blind spot they have; they seem unable to come up with a coherent plan. They can do the tech but not the content. I'm not sure what it is. On paper the tech is a lot harder and they do have deep pockets. But when it comes to content they are a combination of stupid and frugal and somehow refuse to spend money on good content to lure in customers.

With Stadia, they had the right idea and all they would have had to do was two things: fix the bugs and get some amazing games in there. They dropped the ball on both fronts. So, it failed because they never gave it a proper chance to begin with.

  • mike_d 2 months ago

    > there never was a good strategy for content

    Which was ultimately a tech driven chicken and egg problem. I know someone who is the lead for a popular game. They said they'd need to drop DirectX and effectively port the game to Linux to get Stadia working, which wasn't worth it for the user base.

    • jillesvangurp 2 months ago

      Google could have easily paid some game studios to produce content. MS and Sony would not dream of launching new hardware without some decent launch titles. And it's not like Sony uses directx or windows. Neither does Nintendo.

      Google came empty handed to what is a very competitive space. It's all about the games. That's not a technical problem but a doomed product strategy. They failed to engage with game developers to develop for their platform.

      And of course valve had the same issue and and actually fixed it. Many games run fine on Linux these days with Steam. That could have worked for Google as well.

  • dutchbrit 2 months ago

    It’s a reoccurring event though, people don’t trust Google because they kill so many services.

    • jillesvangurp 2 months ago

      They kill so many products because they mismanage them and they then fail to get a lot of users. A lot of the things they kill simply aren't very good. Trust has nothing to do with it.

      • llampx 2 months ago

        Lots of products they killed had millions of users. Reader, Orkut, Picasa are a few that come to mind.

        • jillesvangurp 2 months ago

          Millions is not enough. A stagnating product with only millions of users is a failed product at Google.

eloisant 2 months ago

And they proved everyone right by killing it.

They have the means to keep the product alive and keep trying until they make it, if they really believe in the vision and if it was part of their long term strategy.

Look at Microsoft, Bing have been struggling for years but they're still sticking with it. They waited until it was clear that it couldn't be salvaged before killing Windows phone. And XBOX also had a tough start, and was bleeding money for years.

Half of the problem is that Google kills product before giving them a chance. The other half is that they launch new product randomly "to see what sticks", instead of focusing on a strategy.

bamboozled 2 months ago

I have some business stuff hosted on GCP. I'm actually starting to worry about that, I think it would be weird if GCP was discontinued but I don't know anymore?

  • IronWolve 2 months ago

    Make a business failover plan now, I already migrated everything off google, its just not worth losing your company over googles inability to be business friendly.

    Also a backup/failover plan to migrate to any vendor can also mean you can migrate to save money or outage. Or they ban your account by mistake, which on google seems to happen way to often, if you link it to your developer account, or your personal account.

    • bombcar 2 months ago

      This is a good practice for anything you depend on.

      And if you find something that you’re absolutely dependent on; either try to mitigate that or accept it and be aware.

  • ndiddy 2 months ago
    • metaltyphoon 2 months ago

      I got tons of downvote by saying "I would put one service on GCP just out of principle". Wow, I guess I wasn't so crazy.

      • gumby 2 months ago

        I guess you deleted your comment because I can’t see the context. What principle would that be?

        • metaltyphoon 2 months ago

          It was using OP’s assumption about google not supporting services for long term.

          • hbn 2 months ago

            Was the "would" in the previous comment supposed to be a "wouldn't"?

            If you don't think Google would support GCP long term, it wouldn't make sense to put one (and just one?) service on GCP.

    • hedora 2 months ago

      I used to hear about their hard deadline more often. Will be curious to see if they follow through, and how many months they give small tenants to migrate off.

      They have no hope of meeting the 2023 deadline. They are at 10% market share, growing 1% YoY and half of number 2 (azure).

    • MonkeyMalarky 2 months ago

      Aw heck, we're all in on GCP. How much stock can I put in an article from 3 years ago?

  • john2x 2 months ago

    I used to work in an small org running on GCP, and the most infuriating thing was they would very often deprecate services in favor of new ones. Almost every year we had to spend a few months migrating to a V2 of a service. That's months of resources being spent on work that the company didn't really need to do.

    This was a couple of years ago, I don't know if they are better at it now. But a quick search shows this looks like it is still a thing.

    • solardev 2 months ago

      Same thing happened to us. I wouldn't trust GCP anymore.

  • gumby 2 months ago

    Google’s, what, like #4 or #5 in cloud computing? And in a market where #1 has something like a third of the entire market.

    Doesn’t look good.

    • mkl 2 months ago

      #3, it seems [1], but less than a third the size of AWS and less than half of Azure.


      • onlyrealcuzzo 2 months ago

        Cloud is bigger than Azure.

        "Azure" includes Office 365 so MSFT can pretend Azure is 3x bigger than it is:

        • Spooky23 2 months ago

          They all play tricks. Google does flat rate ELAs, so customer retention and recurring spend is something to look for information on. Microsoft does alot of SaaS bundling and uses the EAs to drive revenue. (Buy an azure gift card vs. true up of whatever)

          At some point it becomes like a “no true Scotsman” argument. They’re all big, and all use their niche to drive spend. IMO HN commentators comparing GCP to Stadia are missing the boat. Likewise, MS will figure out how to monetize the bazillion O365 users with Azure.

        • gumby 2 months ago

          I believe “Azure” includes simply hosting some ppl’s legacy systems in dedicated servers (a State Farm no longer has to have sysadmins or hardware on its balance sheet) and even “on prem azure” which is…you still have your own computers!

      • gumby 2 months ago

        Huh. When I cared about these numbers a couple of years ago it looked like Alibaba and Oracle(!) we’re ahead but I guess that 2Bn they G poured into their cloud biz got them…something. Wow, 10% of the market.

        I wonder if anyone other than AWS is making money in this space. It reminds me of the phone space with one or two winners and everyone else bleeding out.

        Surprised alibaba isn’t bigger TBH.

MarkusWandel 2 months ago

This is kind of an anti chicken/egg situation! What happened first, the chicken got run over so no more eggs, or the egg got smashed so no more chicken?

To clarify the analogy: Nobody trusts Google not to cancel a new thing, so they don't invest any money or effort in the new thing, so it gets cancelled.

  • yjftsjthsd-h 2 months ago

    Er, but we know exactly which came first here? Google started killing products before it had a reputation for killing products. It's a cycle now, but we were actually there to witness the beginning.

  • glandium 2 months ago

    Self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • aaaaaaaaaaab 2 months ago

    It's a vicious cycle, for which the blame falls solely on them. Should be a cautionary tale for all companies.

    • quicklime 2 months ago

      I'm hearing it a lot less after the recent tech backlash, but a few years ago it was fashionable to say things like "take risks" and "embrace failure". But the cautionary tale that most companies are going to take from this is to take fewer risks and to avoid failure at all costs, which I think is a bad outcome.

      Google shouldn't stop cancelling products that fail to get traction, they just need to learn to fail gracefully without leaving customers and developers who've built on top of their platforms in the lurch.

      • adgjlsfhk1 2 months ago

        the problem isn't that Google cancels risky projects, it's that they will make 3 different chat apps, cancel all 3, and make 3 more. any remotely sensible company would when making a new messenging app throw their eggs in one basket to take advantage of network effects rather than intentionally fracturing the market with multiple products.

      • q7xvh97o2pDhNrh 2 months ago

        It's the circle of life, though.

        Companies grow old and fearful. They stop taking risks and treat failure as a "bad" thing to be avoided. In so doing, they become blind to new frontiers.

        That, in turn, finally opens the door for a new wave of hungry startups who are willing to take risks and embrace failure. They come in, disrupt the old guard, and spend 10-20 years becoming giant corporations in their own right. In time, the cycle repeats again.

        It's been a very long time (20+ years!) that some of these companies have been going. If they're just starting to become fearful and risk-avoidant, then perhaps the next wave of interesting startups is finally < 10 years away.

        (For what it's worth, the current bear market also has me thinking it'll be a good time to start a startup in the next 5-10 years. If I were still young and spry, I'd be champing at the bit to save up a few bucks, stockpile some ramen, and go for it.)

      • Dalewyn 2 months ago

        The moral is moderation.

        Too much risk and too little risk are both bad. Take risks, but only risks which you can actually afford.

        It's like how both too little and too much dihydrogen monoxide is bad for you.

utopcell 2 months ago

Hats off to Stadia engineers for the engineering marvel that they created. I'm certain they'll be sought after both internally at Google and externally.

Also, hats off to Google for refunding all hardware(!) and software purchases. I don't remember any parallel to this from a large company.

Essentially, gamers participated in a wonderful large-scale experiment which cost them nothing (except maybe the occasional monthly fee).

I am a happy Stadia user, I am sad to see it sunset.

  • ekiourk 2 months ago

    I agree completely with you, thats how I am seeing the whole situation. Even if I knew the outcome I would be part of it again and I could even spend more money and time. But on the other hand Google could do much better and stadia could be luckier if it was managed by someone else

  • YurgenJurgensen 2 months ago

    Has any other company been in a position where they'd have to offer refunds though? The combination of a hardware device that relies entirely on an external service and requires "purchases" rather than rentals, and said service being discontinued after only three years and the company in question still being solvent seems like it'd be a black swan.

    • utopcell 2 months ago

      Google is refunding everything, not just hardware.

      Contrast this to Amazon for instance, where movies/tv shows you have bought just disappear from your account when Amazon loses the license to serve them.

test6554 2 months ago

Here's what a cloud gaming service needs to take off:

* Allow me to use any controller the game natively supports on almost any device (phone, tablet, pc, stream box, etc.) and also as many game consoles as possible (probably 0 or 1)

* Give me access to hundreds of games when I subscribe just like Netflix gives me access to hundreds of shows and movies. Don't make me pay for the service and again for games. Gamers just want to pay one monthly fee for unlimited games access. (Probably only Microsoft, Sony, or a partnership between a major game publisher and Amazon or Apple could deliver on this due to consolidating IP portfolios)

* Build data centers close to your customers for low-latency rendering

* Use modern GPU hardware with ray tracing and dlss or the AMD equivalent.

* Work with game publishers to make a killer game so computationally demanding that it won't render with just one or two desktop graphics cards. Show the power of the cloud and market the hell out of it.

  • xxs 2 months ago

    > Use modern GPU hardware with ray tracing and dlss or the AMD equivalent.

    DLSS, upscaling - but why? Just so the company can save costs. You should be able to get 60 frames without, and you won't get more than 60fps/4k with any latency. Upscaling will be even worse due to compression artifacts of the streaming. So in short - DLSS is useless. I guess nvidia ad division has a true power.

  • shmerl 2 months ago

    You don't need upscaling for a streaming gaming service. DLSS is pointless for it because you can't possibly have framerates that would force you to upscale anyway.

    • solardev 2 months ago

      What do you mean?

      • shmerl 2 months ago

        Upscaling is useful if for whatever reason you need a target framerate that your GPU can't sustain at your desired resolution. I.e. roughly, you reduce target resolution which allows GPU to render more frames in the same time period, then you upscale the result to counteract that resolution reduction. That way you trade image quality for higher framerate.

        In the network case (i.e. "streaming"), you are limited by the bandwidth and latency of the network itself. I.e. you will sooner bottleneck by the network than by GPU being unable to render frames faster than that. So upscaling is just pointless for it.

        • solardev 2 months ago

          I don't think that's true though. It's not very bandwidth demanding to stream 4k 60fps or 1440p 120fps, GeForce Now does that already out of the box for less than 100 Mbps.

          But it's hard to sustain those frame rates at max graphics. Ue5 will raise the ceiling quite a bit too. The gfx cards will continue to be a bottleneck for AAA games.

          • shmerl 2 months ago

            Upscaling is more useful if you need some crazy framerates (like 240 fps) with high graphics settings for some reason. Even most high end GPUs can't handle that for demanding games on common resolutions. Or more reasonably for mid range and lower end GPUs which are just weaker and can't handle even 144 fps for the above without upscaling.

            But low end GPUs use case isn't relevant for streaming since they can have highest end ones. So we are talking about those who want to push those crazy framerates, and I don't think networks allow that even if GPUs can sustain them.

            Some middle case can happen I suppose if you get an outlier super demanding game, but I always saw it as questionable to push max settings if you are ready to trade image quality for more framerate with upscaling anyway. I'd rather stick to lower framerate and keep image quality of max settings intact by avoiding upscaling. So I just don't see a value in having it, let alone in dedicated hardware vs something like FSR which can work on regular compute units.

jonhohle 2 months ago

I didn’t try Stadia, but recently tried Luna after coming across a controller at a thrift shop. I was happy to find Earthworm Jim in the section of included games, but it ended up being unplayable. I didn’t take the time to determine what the latency cause was - Luna itself, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, display path - but there is so much in that game that requires tight timing that it was unplayable. I was surprised they’d use that to advertise their service.

Modern games are built with an understanding of controller and display latency that just didn’t exist in the analog era, and I’m sure most cloud adapted games don’t mind a few dozen milliseconds of round trip latency. It’s remarkable that nearly 30 years later, retro games that could be easily emulated locally in any streaming device give these services a hard time.

esskay 2 months ago

I'd never, ever trust Google with something important. At some point everything closes.

That being said Sadias failure was only partially the Google closure effect. It ws a terrible business model. Had they gone down a Gamepass style system it would've likely worked. But making you pay full price for a game with zero actual ownership of it, and being 100% reliant on a strong internet connection was always going to cause this to be a flop.

If it hadn't died now it would've happened eventually. With Gamepass expanding and offering an absolutely massive library of games, combined with Origin it's a far superior service, and easier to accept the price.

  • hbn 2 months ago

    > Had they gone down a Gamepass style system it would've likely worked

    Isn't that what they did? You got a handful of games every month when you were on their Pro subscription, and I think you kept them as long as you paid your subscription.

    Just they didn't have as good of offerings, cause their library was lacking.

duxup 2 months ago

Google didn’t seem to trust it.

The early announcements hardly explained what it was.

There seemed to be little outreach to gamers.

Gaming press folks described constantly having to fiddle with getting access as they normally would expect / consistently.

I don’t doubt people were trying, but it looked like a half hearted effort from the start as far as google goes.

shmerl 2 months ago

More like becasue no one wants a DRM walled gaming service and because other streaming options allowed one to play already purchased games instead of requiring to buy them again.

Google should have provided an option to transfer games from Steam and GOG without buying them again, and run them for example using Wine if there was no native Linux version available. Then their service could have worked out. Their refusal to use Wine and stick to native games only was their major mistake that limited their catalog (in addition to that buying games again issue).

I think Amazon are already working on something like above and they are using Wine. They probably learned from Google's mistakes.

Instead of shutting down, Google should have addressed above issues. But in Google's usual fashion, they'd rather shut things down than fix them.

Rathseg 2 months ago

It wasn't a matter of lack of trust. Oddly, the article kind of refutes itself by providing plenty of examples of it just being a bad product.

Stadia was a solution in search of a problem. No one wanted it and it wasn't a good product. It was also a case of when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Google did everything in the cloud and already had cloud compute services that were good technically but under utilized because of Google's low-touch business models. Add in the appeal of that sweet, sweet recurring revenue model that drives the MBA types wild and it became very easy rationalize that it was a good idea. They likely never considered if it was going to be appealing to gamers or to developers because they were blinded by their their own desires.

pie_flavor 2 months ago

Tech people talk about the tech they killed, but that isn't related to game developers' incentives - especially considering nearly all the tech they killed was free and they don't have a history of rolling on actual customers.

The actual problem for game developers was that the architecture was home-grown (Vulkan-only), with little tooling, annoying licensure requirements, and not enough profit incentive to dedicate the effort. Companies have no (financial) problem releasing for GOG, which has fewer users than Stadia, because you barely have to take any effort to do so, but porting to Stadia took the effort of porting to Xbox. This both counted as a direct incentive not to port to Stadia, as well as the writing on the wall for how well-managed this product would be.

Aerroon 2 months ago

Stadia died because the product doesn't make sense.

Stadia is essentially trying to replace a gaming PC. To offer this service you will have to charge users enough money to:

1. buy a gaming PC every 3-5 years

2. run it at ~250W for average play time (4-8 hrs a day)

3. pay for all of the bandwidth on your end

And then you can offer the user a worse service than if they had spent that money on a PC themselves.

Where's the value add for the average user here? Does Google get computer hardware that's optimized for games several times cheaper than average users? Is their bandwidth free? Free electricity?

Ultimately Stadia is trying to offer a service that's very similar to what already exists. They have to do something much better to have a chance or they have to have a stable offering that slowly builds up more users.

  • thrwyoilarticle 2 months ago

    >run it at ~250W for average play time (4-8 hrs a day)

    I think this is the important aspect. If you're only using it for a few hours a day, the hardware can be used for someone else while you're not playing.

    So it runs into the same issue as autonomous taxis: the hardware is only useful in a narrow region and most users want to have their go at the same time.

  • kibibu 2 months ago

    4-8 hrs per day? Is that really how much time the average game player spends? (not "gamer", but stadia target customer)

    I enjoy games but if be hard pressed to spend that much time a week.

pbj1968 2 months ago

I’m reading a lot of shoulda, woulda, coulda in here but it was a very, very nice product that worked disturbingly well in my experience. When they went to free timed trials of AAA games, I figured they were on the edge. This thing was ahead of its time and we were witnessing the inevitable death of consoles. I say this as someone with more systems that I can count that are actively played in my household.

system2 2 months ago

I can't believe people even discuss this. Input Lag gaming will never pick up. It is supposed to be the opposite. Remove lag further instead of adding them for strange services like this.

  • password54321 2 months ago

    You never tried it or your connection is bad. The tech itself works.

    • system2 2 months ago

      I tried Stadia on a Gigabit Fiber + 5ghz wifi. It is significantly noticeable. You cannot change the laws of physics.

Fricken 2 months ago

My premise at the outset was that if Google isn't committed enough to invest in a AAA launch exclusive for it's gaming platform, then I won't be committing to anything either.

6510 2 months ago

Now that search is not working anymore I'm starting to realize how wonderful it really was. You don't know what you have until it is gone.

  • aaaaaaaaaaab 2 months ago

    >You don't know what you have until it is gone.

    Still grieving for Google Reader.

    • SanjayMehta 2 months ago

      Same here, but on the bright side it forced me to switch to a paid app which is infinitely better.

      • philliphaydon 2 months ago

        What’s the paid app? I miss Google reader and all the blogs I used to subscribe to.

        • SanjayMehta 2 months ago

          Reeder on macOS and ios. Allows you to locally host your RSS feeds so no servers required.

          I haven't checked recently but they usually make the (N-1)th version free.

          • philliphaydon 2 months ago

            I assume reeder 5? When I search reeder without the 5 it doesn’t show up…

            Thanks for the recommendation to!

            • SanjayMehta 2 months ago

              Reeder 5 is out? I will have to upgrade soon.

              I upgrade regularly as this is one of the old fashioned developers who doesn't play subscription games.

              Fantastical and 1Password? Looking at you.

phendrenad2 2 months ago

Stadia failed because it wasn't an identity, it was just a piece of hardware.

If you stand in line to buy a Playstation 5, you're part of an exclusive club of PS5-owners and you can play exclusive games for that platform.

If you buy an Xbox you're part of an exclusive club of Xbox-owners and you can play exclusive games for that platform.

If you buy a Nintendo Switch, you're part of a (not-so) exclusive club of Switch-owners and you can play exclusive games for that platform.

If you buy a gaming PC, you're part of the "PCMR" and you can play exclusive games for that platform (and brag about how much RAM you have or whatever).

If you buy a Stadia, you can play some games that already exist on other platforms.

This whole situation isn't surprising. Big tech has a particular disease where they think that other industries are trivial and they can just muscle their way in with their superior intellect and size. Just look at how every MAANGA company is trying to disrupt healthcare right now, has a self-driving car division, etc. (There's some business antipattern, or psychological effect, but I can't remember the term right now).

This is why YCombinator exists, because startups do a deeper dive into their markets and don't usually fall for ego traps like this.

achow 2 months ago

It is kinda puzzling why Stadia was not sold off to Netflix.

It would be a win situation for all - Google makes money, Netflix doesn't have to start from scratch for their next strategic move, Stadia gamers are not left stranded.

Same as when Google sold Sketchup.

2012. Google’s sale of 3D modeling software SketchUp, to Trimble, is its first divestment in years, ..the search giant made a profit, as it sold SketchUp for more than it bought it for back in 2006.

a1371 2 months ago

I'm sure there are some managers at Google who are patting each other on the back reciting "fail fast fail often" boasting about how much they learned launching Stadia, and looking for the next thing because Google should not be bogged down with things that don't turn the world upside down.

I don't think Google should become a maintenance company and I understand what the sunk cost fallacy is but I must ask...

Did no one at Google find the grit to ask for more money and try new things? They understand that we have stopped believing in their new products because they display no belief in those themselves, right?

  • trophycase 2 months ago

    This. I remember when Stadia came out and then you'd see press from Google backpedalling on their own product. You knew it would die before it even launched so why bother investing money and time into it? Like why should I show commitment into Stadia if Google is already cutting their budget before it launches?

tb_technical 2 months ago

What the heck? Stadia failed because it sucked, and not everyone lives in a town with a fibre uplink and a local server farm!

  • ekiourk 2 months ago

    You are completely wrong, you don't need fiber and you don't need to be next to a datacenter. I leave in London but I am using it when I am traveling even to countries that officially stadia is not supported. I know people on unsupported regions that can play just fine through VPN! Stadia is a tech marvel with great user experience, just Google execs never cared to spend enough money to make it a commercial success

  • Melchizedek 2 months ago

    Or in Europe or East Asia where most people have good broadband.

Kukumber 2 months ago

The world uses google search and trust their email service even for their professional and civil uses, that journalist is dishonest on purpose, shame

Stadia died due to:

- business model

- cloud only

- conjuncture and anti-competitive nature of their competitors

cloud gaming is 20years too early anyways, i'm not saying it's pointless, i am saying it shouldn't be your sole offering

they own android and they didn't capitalize on it, instead they went rogue with web only

a dedicated handheld gaming console with cloud capabilities would have been 1000x better and smarter strategy to penetrate the premium gaming market

  • JumpCrisscross 2 months ago

    > world uses google search and trust their email service

    These are core services. Google is trusted for their core services. Everything else faces an uphill battle for coming from Google.

    • GekkePrutser 2 months ago

      Even Google search is going downhill. Most searches contain a lot of sponsored crap at the top. And it's often returning worse results than duckduckgo.

      • alexb_ 2 months ago

        I was actually searching some terms on Google about a week ago and straight up had crypto scams and "Click Allow To Prove You Are Not A Robot" on the front page. Past the first 3 results Google Search has become insanely shit.

  • danaris 2 months ago

    "The world uses Google" and "the world trusts Google" are not the same thing.

eftychis 2 months ago

To augment the article's perspective:

To add: Trust (lack of it) played a big role also, in the sense that to capitalize with Stadia, one needed to produce a quite different port of their game. I can imagine that making the decision to invest your developers' time on a new port and that being a product that its known track record is ""

But also google, as other sibling comments have pointed out also, did not integrate at all with their other products, did not offer more than some free games, had no offline offering -- I would pay 110% the price for physical + online access to the game for life.

They could have actually been a serious Steam competitor, they have the money to do so. Instead of supporting linux gaming, they went with their own approach. They did not offer a console, or hardware, besides the initial giveaway. Minute point, but doesn't help, when competition in the space gives weekly games, deep discounts and has a great API and track record.

Everyone knew they would fail, and they did, despite their resources, which tells us a lot. I think it is high time and paramount to retrospect and learn.

smallerdemon 2 months ago

When Google first appeared on the tech scene, a lot of us were excited to have a great tool for search that actually kicked back relevant things you needed. And they toyed with great experiments, most of which are all dead except for the most boring of them: the traditional productivity suite of email, documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. (For the record, I have never seen or heard of a single person in my entire knowledge of Google ever use Slides.) Of course, Chromebooks and Chrome as well (but...).

Their missteps are so public and feel so egregious, and that's what this article is underscoring. Great and fun things that clearly they are not able to monetize, no matter how much they throw into it. Yet the things that they go all in on are usually things no one actually needs or wants, such as Google Plus and Stadia. Instead, as again pointed out by the article, Google puts out great experiments that people love, and the management and marketing at Google simply are never able to get their shit together to monetize those things in ways to make the products profitable enough to keep around, such as the article-mentioned Reader (which I am also still bitter about), and just destroying other great tools like Picasa to hoist less useful web-based generic experiences upon the user base they build up.

Google is really, truly, at this point so many years into their existence, an afterthought for most end users. When non-tech people say Google they mean Chrome almost 100% of the time. They mean a web browser. People still have and use and emails more than anyone thinks, and gmail might be Google's second most successful product after Chrome, but for a grand majority, Google = Chrome.

The Google Graveyard site exists for a reason.

  • tester756 2 months ago


    I'd say that when people say Google they mean

    search, youtube, android/gmail, maps

    • hedora 2 months ago

      Google Search is dying. Last night I tried to identify a baby rattlesnake (?) in our living room. On my wife’s phone, many of the pictures were for ratsnakes. Of course, I didn’t notice it while I was waving brooms around, and of course I can’t reproduce the issue while logged out.

      YouTube, Android: Fair point, though android is shrinking in developed markets.

      Gmail and maps are commodities with minimal network effects and differentiation.

ChildOfChaos 2 months ago

Stadia died because they mismanaged it and didn't put in enough / the right resources. It took them two years to add a search bar to the service.

When I first decided to try it last year, I couldn't even sign in and access game pages without it making me sign up to a pro trial, I had too find a free to play game and go to that page and then go to other games from there. It was crazy. Completely unclear what the service was and how it worked for most people until recently. Even now with all the media coverage, i've seen large publications miswrite how the service worked and that you needed a pro subscription and to buy the games.

If they weren't going to put in the resources to get the triple titles, then they should have marketed it as a more casual gaming service. Used youtube to market it, have a bunch of party games on the subscription service and then it would have gotten more traction. They should of marketed it in the play store and to android users more. It could have worked, but they did nothing.

Casual players don't have a problem trusting Google, as they are not aware they shouldn't trust Google. Only tech people and people in the know, know that and this was Stadias real problem.

Tech people knew that Stadia existed, those people into games already had big gaming PC's and thought Stadia was a joke since it didn't have big triple A titles and they already had the hardware needed, the people that could have benefited the most for the service, didn't know it existed and if they did due to Stadias poor UX had no idea how it worked / that it could be useful for them.

The fact that Google's management could not see this, when it is so clear is silly, all they needed to do is pivot and relaunch the service and fix a few issues, they did all the hard work and then just gave up, it's insane.

threatripper 2 months ago

What is the technical reason why streaming is much better than having your own hardware? So far I don't really see it for most people.

I could imagine it's better for business because you can gate-keep access to your game and nobody can copy it.

It's easier and faster to develop because you just have to optimize it for a few datacenters with a limited scope of hardware. (But is hardware support even a big problem today?)

For the user they don't have to care for anything. Just click "START" in the browser and you're good to go. Optionally transfer some money for a day pass for premium games. (But is it that easy?)

So I think it's supposed to make sense from a business and UX perspective but technically it still falls short. Whoever has enough internet also has enough hardware. Both get cheaper. Whoever develops a game with a big budget could also develop a custom streaming solution.

fatjokes 2 months ago

Stadia was prepared for a future that was promised and not delivered on time: ubiquitous (mmWave) 5G.

A lot of folks point out that Stadia doesn't make sense because you'd be tied to locations with stable Internet. That wasn't suppose to be a problem anymore. Google misjudged the telcos who had promised 5G and delivered the weak, low coverage form we have today.

Had the gamble paid off, it would've been strategically perfect. Cloud-based intensive computing, which is exactly Google's forté, would've taken off and Stadia's infrastructure could've been extended beyond gaming. And the pitch would've been easy: don't buy $500 impossible-to-find consoles and $2k graphics cards. You'd also be able to play your games anywhere. Traveling for work? Log in and play on your crappy work laptop or Chromebook.

  • rizzaxc 2 months ago

    not the reason. stadia isn't the only offering in this space; both GamePass and GFN are doing fine

djhworld 2 months ago

Trust plays a big part of it, especially in the gaming industry.

- Trust from consumers - Trust (and buy-in) from game developers/publishers

Getting that trust is a long and often winding path, just look at Microsoft's track record with the Xbox. There were moments along the way where it could have all fallen apart, but at least they seem to genuinely believe in the product/platform.

I never really got that impression from Stadia, I tend to follow a lot of games media and Stadia never really got that much of a mention. That might be a fault of the outlets I follow, but you'd think Stadia PR team would be the ones out there working the circuit to drum up positive coverage.

Stadia hired Phil Harrison as the leader, he's had a long history of working in the industry, but tbh I don't think google put the resources behind him.

v7p1Qbt1im 2 months ago

It‘s really a pity. Unfortunately the gaming market is so difficult to penetrate. It took MS decades and endless amounts of money. And it’s really shitty for cloud gaming prospects. Likely MS will take it all over the long term and there will be a lack of competition in the space.

Stadia was so far ahead technically. They just needed to invest 15 years and 100 billion in studios and a sub model. Gaming and cloud will be the future. And now they lost one them. I get that it’s really difficult to justify loss leaders for that long but you kind a have to in this case.

It’s funny that Google became so risk averse over the years while MS is just taking massive gambles and spending like they don’t have a care in the world. And MS seems to be doing the right things for them somehow.

tristor 2 months ago

I buy almost every tech gadget related to gaming. I didn’t buy Stadia. The reasons are pretty much as below, in order.

1. Google is not a reliable vendor. Anything they launch is highly likely to be cancelled and you are left holding the bag.

2. Game streaming is fundamentally inferior to local play, and the structure of the Stadia market didn’t account for this.

3. XBox Game Pass exists, which is superior to Stadia in every way, and comes from a reliable vendor.

I’m more surprised that anyone bought Stadia than I am that it got canceled.

jasonlotito 2 months ago

Sounds about right. Pretty much every single gamer (across multiple circles of friends, most outside of tech) I knew joked about this. Most also commented on why would they need it when they already have a PC/console and performance (though Nvidia and PS Now users were quick to speak up on the quality). In general. I'm not saying this was the only reason, but this was one of the reasons every dismissed it.

Even the gaming press was pretty harsh on this in general.

pragmatic 2 months ago

No one trusts Google to keep any new service alive. Or not to randomly close their account. Or to do anything good at this point quite honestly.

snapetom 2 months ago

Man, that display with the Dreamcast, Power Glove, and E.T... Amazing no one at Google yelled, "STOP!" at the marketing department.

uejfiweun 2 months ago

Google needs to be in the business of revolutionizing things. Not this incremental, competitively priced bullshit. If Google wanted to really succeed in the gaming space, they'd be out there offering this service for free. They invented innovative technology that could have made it possible to play a AAA game on a piece of shit, and they hid it behind so many subscription services and fees that nobody ever even got to experience it. Then they went with, depending on who you ask, either no marketing at all, or in my experience the most bland, soulless corporate marketing I've ever seen. It's like they don't understand anything about the market they are entering into. What on earth even happened with this product? It was literally a punchline before it even released. The product & marketing people in charge of this should be ashamed of themselves.

alenonimo 2 months ago

As someone who lived through the Google Reader era, there was no way in hell that I would trust Google with my money on a service like Stadia. It's the kind of situation where you only get burned once by a company.

Stadia was dead on arrival for me. I live in a 3rd world country so they didn't ever bothered trying to sell the hardware over here. The internet also probably wouldn't be able to handle the needed downstream of a high quality gameplay footage, and even if it could it would have a ridiculous lag without servers in the region. Even if they managed to solve all of those problems, they were literally asking me to buy games that not only I wouldn't own but couldn't install or mod in my own way and trust that enough people would do the same so they wouldn't cancel the entire thing and run with the money? It's too much to ask.

Heck, is the promised refund actual money back into the bank account or "gift cards" to spend on Google services? Wouldn't surprise me if it's the latter.

I don't think Google was ever all that much successfull with products that only attend certain small regions. For Stadia to have a better chance, it would need at least be coupled with a service similar to Steam or Epic Games, where bought games are ran on client machines and that could be operated worldwide. A simple game store would make the service much more reliable.

I think the biggest problem of Google now is how much they try to *control* their users. Google+ was really annoying to use because they kept making demands like real name and surname, not giving proper API so people could automatize posts with little effort, etc. They literally killed Google Reader just so people would stop using feeds and use their proprietary stuff instead. Stadia demanded the user not just to relinquish the ownership of the game but also the machine where it ran and how it was installed, so you couldn't modify games or manipulate saves. They also demanded people to use Chrome even though they could make it run on any web browser. It's all about control, control, control.

I'm at a point where I don't even use Google Chrome. I know they will fuck it up somehow by being too "controlley". Oh wait, they're already trying to get rid of Ad Blockers, aren't they? That will surely work and in no way make people just use other browsers like Firefox, I'm sure... /s

crmrc114 2 months ago

Killing google reader. This for me was their turning point.

  • olifante 2 months ago

    The day they killed Google Reader was the day they publicly renounced their “Don’t Be Evil” motto.

    From TFA:

    > the turning point was the assassination of Google Reader — for which I will never forgive them, and try to regularly exert a small vengeance by mentioning it

foxyv 2 months ago

I have to admit, I would have bought into Stadia if I had any confidence in Google not killing things willy nilly. I like the idea of cloud services like this and not having to play keep up with my computer upgrades. However they canceled Google Play Music, Hangouts, and a couple other things. Then all the customer support issues. Then the content moderation SNAFU on YouTube.

They are kind of like that psychotic cat owner that refuses to get their cats fixed. They just keep having kittens and drowning them in the lake or letting them run wild because they don't want to take care of them.

jpeter 2 months ago

What I don't understand. Why didn't they push stadia on mobile more? Why didn't they make a switch like controller for phones and sold it? And when you installed the stadia app, the first you see is a popup that forces you to buy the premium subscription.

pjmlp 2 months ago

Same fate awaits Flutter and Dart, unless Fuchsia really takes Android place.

Dart only reason to stay around is to write Flutter apps.

Flutter, well, it has enough competition with frameworks based on programming languages that aren't tied to a single purpose.

npteljes 2 months ago

Partially I agree, but to me, the offering haven't made sense. I'd pay for the service, and then I'd buy the games themselves, which are then tied to the service. With GeForce Now, I had to only pay for the service, and use my already existing library - so effectively I'm renting hardware, that makes sense. With Xbox Game Pass, I'd pay to rent a dynamic library of games, that also makes sense. But this hybrid kind of thing what Google offered, I just felt was the worst value on the market.

softwaredoug 2 months ago

There certainly is a product management lesson in here

It’s not enough to launch a product, you need conviction, and skin in the game, that the product is a good idea. And when your bets don’t pay off, you need to pivot like your life depends on it.

Google could never succeed with stadia (or other big bets) if there’s little downside risk for those involved to its failure. Instead of digging deep and getting creative with the model, they can shrug and give up.

You can’t give people amazing comfort and stability then expect them to take outsized risks.

  • rhtgrg 2 months ago

    > You can’t give people amazing comfort and stability then expect them to take outsized risks.

    This statement doesn't make any sense to me. Who's going to try crazy new maneuvers on the trapeze, the person with the safety net or the one without?

    Perhaps you meant to say that you can't expect people to iterate on their business model like their life depends on it...well, I'm sorry to inform you but that rarely happens even in the startup world. People routinely shrug and give up, some return money to investors, and everyone moves on.

    • softwaredoug 2 months ago

      The better metaphor is if there’s always a safety net it doesn’t matter whether you stay on the tight rope. You can give up whenever you want.

    • hedora 2 months ago

      What is the upside at google if the thing you got promoted for three years ago (and are no longer working on) takes off this year?

flohofwoe 2 months ago

IMHO it wasn't just Google (and if then only in the sense that they picked the wrong people), Stadia was lead by an "old guard" from the traditional game console business (and weren't even particularly successful there). Trying to shoehorn the console business model into a streaming service is essentially like trying to create an awesome technology for streaming movies, but then still forcing people to buy movie tickets and go to the cinema for watching those streamed movies.

Krisando 2 months ago

I tried Stadia, but the input latency was frustrating. I tried to play games that ran okay, but didn't want to upgrade my computer. Most noticeably to me, Destiny 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 ran poorer and worse input lag. I have gigabit fiber and sub 10ms latency to all the major datacenters in Europe.

I didn't stop using Stadia because I didn't trust Google, I stopped using Stadia because the experience sucked every time I tried it.

WalterBright 2 months ago

Gaming is such a highly competitive market, I wouldn't try breaking into it unless I had something revolutionary, like Myst and DOOM were when they appeared.

  • HWR_14 2 months ago

    Microsoft threw billions at it and became the third player. Sony also threw tons of money at it and succeeded. You don't need revolutionary ideas as a hardware publisher, you need the willingness to lose money for a long time to get a foothold.

    • YurgenJurgensen 2 months ago

      Willingness to lose money is necessary but not sufficient. You still need to do something that nintendon't. Sony was lucky in that Sega completely bungled their entries into the 32-bit era, and Nintendo chose a cartridge-based system at a time when cartridges were on the way out, so in reality, the Playstation was the only competently-executed CD-based console available at the time.

      Similarly, the XBOX was kind-of revolutionary. If anything, it was ahead of its time. It had a built-in HDD, its controllers were logically USB even if they had a proprietary form-factor, and it had built-in networking, and it didn't use any fancy nonstandard architecture. These are all features that would eventually become standard, so MS definitely had good ideas, and by doing them first they were well-positioned to do them right again. If MS had brought literal nothing to the table, I doubt the 360 would have been able to capitalise on the PS3's various shortcomings.

      EDIT: "Doing something nintendon't" might be more literal than I thought. If the real market for Stadia is casuals, then what does the Stadia do that the Switch doesn't? I guess from reading the Reddit thread linked elsewhere, that the main market was ex-PC-gaming dads whose wives wouldn't let them get a new gaming PC. Which makes sense, as those people aren't interested in playing Mario or Zelda. But that's not a big niche to be targeting.

    • ffggvv 2 months ago

      sony has decades of relationships built in the industry with its consoles. microsoft has the same with oc gaming.

      google has zero relationships

      • HWR_14 2 months ago

        Sony has the decades of relationships now, but not when the PS1 came out. Which is what I was referring to. (And the original XBox)

imwillofficial 2 months ago

No, stadia died because Google did not earn trust.

A subtle but important distinction. Google had a chance to commit to this and really hold the line until wider adoption.

  • lofaszvanitt 2 months ago

    You really think the average player has long term memory, reads multiple newspapers on a daily basis and knows all the shenanigans of Google?

    NO! They only care about themselves and the bottom line. Gimme the game as fast as possible with as low of a cost possible and goodbye.

    • imwillofficial 2 months ago

      Wrong, if that were true the cheapest console would always be dominant. And the market easily disrupted.

      Sometimes that’s the case, sometimes it isn’t.

      So clearly average gamers know enough about companies to factor in reputation into the mix. Otherwise those $50 emulators would outsell everything else on the planet.

mattlondon 2 months ago

It died because you could not access your steam (...or epic or uplay or gog) libraries.

Nothing else matters IMO.

It was good tech, bad badly integrated into the ecosystem.

I happily pay for geforce now which can access those things (in an albeit limited way - I think technically it can play anything but there are legal tings that prevent a lot of games from being playable which sucks for the user)

birdyrooster 2 months ago

Stadia was not good because of physics. Like GeforceNow, it is laggy and artifacty. It’s not a real business because they don’t actually have a significant target audience. It doesn’t matter who runs it. I’ve been saying this for years and predicting this exact scenario but not because of trust. People trust Google enough to be swayed but this product sucked.

  • ajvs 2 months ago

    As a GFN user for the past 14 months I disagree. It's more than acceptable performance even when playing competitive multiplayer games like League of Legends and Planetside 2.

    I do agree however that Stadia sucked as a product. Nobody was going to buy into their ecosystem if they can't opt to download the games onto their own PCs like Steam. Too much lock-in without that aspect, and without any guarantees that they were going to refund customers if Stadia ever sunk it just made it DOA

    • Aerroon 2 months ago

      But that's not the perception GeforceNow has. If I ask around what people think it would be then most of the gamers I know wouldn't even consider it unless they had no other option.

      Games are already fiddly when it comes to latency. Adding another fiddling layer inbetween just sounds more painful.

  • NikolaNovak 2 months ago

    I can't speak for Google but I've played Geforce Now since December 2020. It was an absolute saver when gpu prices shot up and I could not play some recent games anymore. I do have Bell Gigabit fibre in a small town in Canada so I'm lucky with fast internet but I absolutely love the service. Even Microsoft Xbox pass premium cloud or whatever they call it now did not work properly (and their support for paid product is no existent - they send you to reddit or something), but geforce now just worked and worked well.

    Now, different people have different preferences and I imagine if I were a pro online multiplayer guy with 240hz monitor and 10 million dpi mouse twitch shooting against pros, it would not serve as well. But I've played fps games like cyberpunk happily as a single player. They basically have my money guaranteed for foreseeable future.

  • silisili 2 months ago

    It's all where you live, and your home network. I had about 15 to 20ms latency to nearest POP, and Stadia honestly played just as well as a PS5 or such.

    Moved to a different city, and latency wasn't near as good because of ISP routing, mainly. Still playable, but definite pretiming everything. I think latency there was 50ish ms.

  • t-writescode 2 months ago

    I’ve played PS Now enough to know that the latency is perfectly fine and the artifact count isn’t bad. I’m very happy with those services and they can be done well.

  • kovac 2 months ago

    Not sure why you're down voted but this is what I thought as well. What I mainly heard was that thus was aimed at casual gamers. But this felt like an over-engineered solution for casual gamers to make enough money from them while too underpowered to appeal to the hard-core gamers (PC,console gamers).

  • helsinki 2 months ago

    Yeah, the article is simply wrong, in my opinion. People don’t factor in whether or not Google will support it in n years when deciding to use one or their services. Nobody used the product because it sucked.

  • ChildOfChaos 2 months ago

    What rubbish.

    Stadia wasn't laggy or artifacty at all. That is just because you either haven't used the service or you have poor internet.

    I played many games on Stadia for a year with zero issues. I perferred over playing the games on my PC as it was just a lot easier / faster, to open chrome and be straight into the game.

ece 2 months ago

If Stadia's core audience was supposed to be occasional gamers, then that audience didn't exist. Not to the extent Google thought anyway.

That's the nice way of putting it, but yeah, cancelling things people like and/or not providing enough value (if your internet is fast enough) is going to hold a service back too.

frouge 2 months ago

This: "To be honest I would be relieved if they screwed up Gmail so badly that I had no choice but to switch"

amelius 2 months ago

I'm not a gamer, but I was wondering what happens to games purchased by customers.

The Google support site says:

> We will be leaving the Stadia platform and game servers online until January 18, 2023, so you can continue to play games in your library.

How is this acceptable? If I purchased Stadia games for $40-$60, I would be furious.

sally1620 2 months ago

Game streaming technology has been ready for a long time now. It is not the technology or leadership of companies that make game streaming; it is the game studios that block game streaming from becoming main-stream.

Asooka 2 months ago

And now that it was shut down with no prior notice given to studios, that were actively working on ports of their games to the platform, no-one will ever trust Google with their business again. That honestly has to be the worst platform shutdown I've ever witnessed.

mm007emko 2 months ago

I happily used GeForce Now when I couldn't get a new GPU (and later could get but couldn't afford it).

It made sense because the games were bought through Steam and GoG and I paid just for the streaming service. Now I don't have to re-buy the games and even kept saves.

ggnall 2 months ago

Matthew Ball had a great angle on why streaming gaming generally and what niche (and kinds of games)it would actually serve. The (current) top comment here is spot on that this product didn’t make sense to any particular gamer audience.

tlhunter 2 months ago

The Steamdeck also helped kill Stadia. If I want to game on the go then I can simply access my established Steam library from the Deck. At that point, why buy into another library?

MomoXenosaga 2 months ago

Nobody trusts Microsoft but they kept pouring money into Xbox until it worked.

Google just wanted to half ass their entry into the games industry. It's a warning to Amazon and Apple.

Geee 2 months ago

I think this tech would work for very well for game demos. Google could repurpose this tech, so that people could play game demos integrated in ads.

  • elrobinto 2 months ago

    They did this with Resident Evil Village - I thought that would be an awesome experience to play it on my underpowered work laptop - it just didn't work though, not sure if it didn't like my browser or their servers were overloaded.

isitmadeofglass 2 months ago

Stadia dying proves why people shouldn’t trust Google.

ctvo 2 months ago

> At its best, Stadia was better than its competitors and almost magical in how it fulfilled the promise of going from zero to in-game in one second.

I was an early adopter of Stadia. I swapped to GeForce Now because it supported higher resolutions, had better refresh rates, and had lower latency.

The author tried to push the narrative that technically Google did well but it was other factors causing this failure. No, technically they didn’t do well either.

whirlwin 2 months ago

I tried Stadia this year, and it was full of indie games and just a few AAA games. Didn't work for me.

Markoff 2 months ago

my take from headline since I can't open link due to some shady Yahoo consent redirect - so people didn't want to use it because they were afraid Google will kill it, so Google killed it?

story old as Google especially when it comes to messaging apps, never use messaging app from Google

mugivarra69 2 months ago

i agree with broad theme. the people who work on games, are not really fan of big corps owning things. most game devs want their thing to be reflection of them and share the joy with people, rather than siloing it and milking people. that is my experience, personally.

stevenalowe 2 months ago

Never heard of Stadia until now <== might also be a factor

dehrmann 2 months ago

I wonder if any Stadia tech will get rolled up into Chromebooks.

  • wishfish 2 months ago

    Probably not. Google has beta support for Steam on a handful of new (and new-ish) Chromebooks. Will probably make that mainstream on the Intel / AMD models eventually. Unsupported Chromebooks can install Steam via Linux as long as they're not ARM based.

    Plus, much of the existing game streaming services works on Chromebooks. Either through a web interface or through an Android app. And there's a ton of games and emulators available via Android.

    I think that gives enough gaming options for Chromebooks that Stadia tech won't continue in Chrome OS. I could be wrong though. Would be amusing if it was integrated somehow.

  • dragonwriter 2 months ago

    Isn’t it (except maybe “controllers connecting to the network bypassing a computer or other client device”, which also doesn’t make sense in a Chromebook) all server-side tech plus existing a/v streaming?

    • dehrmann 2 months ago

      I'm specifically thinking of a path to beefier applications that G Suite, but maybe it's mostly suited for gaming. For something like an IDE or Photoshop, how you offload work to the server looks different.

      • dragonwriter 2 months ago

        Oh, it (or something very similar) could definitely be used for desktop applications that run and store data remotely, I just don’t think that you’d need to add anything additional to Chromebooks to realize that. On desktop, it already uses Chrome as the software client component, so its already there.

peanut_worm 2 months ago

Google has really fallen far since Pichai took over.

  • tokamak 2 months ago

    Agree. He is not bad of a manager, but there is no vision in him.

oxff 2 months ago

It died because it's complete dog shit.

wafriedemann 2 months ago

They made a service for casuals, but a lot of casual games where not available on the platform. Basically no f2p game that, as I assume, casuals love.

sngz 2 months ago

As a gamer. I didnt even know what stadia was until I read this thread. Lack of advertising might be why they failed.

summerlight 2 months ago

Oh no, Stadia failed because its business model doesn't really make sense. And Phil doesn't really understand where Stadia's real potential can thrive. He definitely is an expert of the traditional gaming market, but he doesn't really understand how network effects in Google work or where online gaming service is heading.

For the user side, you need decent internet connections and to pay $40~$60 per title. The value proposition is that you can play on a powerful machine in the cloud without paying significant upfront costs, but its inventory is extremely limited and at the moment Google decided to take an intentionally ambiguous position on its commitment, so there was a risk that you're going to lose your ownership on those games. And you also cannot sell your titles on used markets. The pay-per-title model only works if this grants you full control of the title. I think only subscription models like game pass make sense for this kind of streaming service, but Phil looked afraid of bringing too much disruptions to traditional game publishers' business model so made lots of compromises here. This is definitely the first reason of Stadia's failure.

And for developers, they made a significant mistake; instead of making it a plausible platform for everyone, they simply put tons of cash to a handful of AAA developers. This didn't work of course because they're going to release their games on other consoles and Google doesn't have enough negotiation power to have them exclusive on Stadia. The result is a simple failure; overall inventory became much smaller than it could be while it failed to deliver any significant exclusive titles.

Compared to this, Nintendo did it very well on making Switch a developer platform. It's not fully open but still it's considerably more open than what they did in previous consoles. And this gives Switch a very unique value proposition of being the only handheld gaming console (at least before Steam deck) which can play a significant fraction of indie/small developer's games.

There are lots of example cases where an interesting indie game gets skyrocketed by midnight thanks to some big name streamers who decided to play it. What if Stadia was able to have one of them (limited time) exclusive to their platform. Google owns YT so it is in a much better position of negotiating with those creators. And they could integrate ads and payment systems so gaming could be just one click away and developers can get a very precise performance of their ads and attribution from creators.

I still also don't understand why they didn't really plan to integrate the Play store and Android ecosystem. There are significant demands of playing mobile games with a keyboard, a mouse or a controller and on a big screen. The mobile gaming market is dominant not because it's convenient to play but because the mobile market is big. AAA title developers still don't consider it an option because of its form factor and limited controls (and some minor technical issues but not really a fundamental blocker), but Stadia could solve that problem and deliver the Play store to every possible form factors. But they didn't do that. I heard that Google will keep streaming infrastructure and its team that runs Stadia, so there might be some hope that this idea could be realized in the Play store though.

HeavyStorm 2 months ago

What a naive article.

Can't believe it made to hn top.

chiefalchemist 2 months ago

These shutdowns are a calculated cover for the day the DOJ shows up and slaps them with a monopoly tag for their dominant (and money printing) products.

"Monopoly? Us? Look how many times we've failed. Any dominant marketshare we have could easily disappear. Look how many times we've failed..."

Put another way, certainly Google is aware of the perception impact of these shutdowns. And yet, like clockwork, they persist. It's either intentional, or they're devoid of data about perceptions of the brand. It can't be the latter, can it?

  • Our_Benefactors 2 months ago

    Yes, google plans projects, spins them up spending millions or billions in dev costs over multiple years, then executes the final phase of the plan and kills them. All so their hypothetical attorneys can make a hypothetical point in a hypothetical court case.


    • chiefalchemist 2 months ago

      Yup. Is that not what happens? Consistently??

      As for the hypothetical court case. Again, there's history for that as well.

      What's your explanation then? The mighty Google with some of the best and brightest minds in the consistently incompetent? That it goes into markets outside its core competence, dumps a ton of resources, and then again and again surrenders prematurely?


      Seems that your theory sounds more ridiculous than mine (which btw is inpired by Thiel and Zero to One).

      • Our_Benefactors 2 months ago

        My explanation is that they want to make money on these projects and immediately cancel them when they fail to meet some lofty goals. Not that these projects are from-inception used as pawns in some abstract legal posturing.

        • chiefalchemist 2 months ago

          I agree with you. That is what is happening. Where we part ways is why. The fact that it happens over, over, and over again, then for a company of that status, that's strategy. It's intentional. Else, we're suggesting that Google cannot learn from previous mistakes. That simply doesn't hold water.

          Again, see Thiel for more details.

puyoxyz 2 months ago

This article feels like I’m being mansplained to. They’re clueless and are acting like an expert

  • encryptluks2 2 months ago

    I think it is just opportunism. The cool thing these days seems hating on Google, even if you have a really poor reason. It is just confirmation bias for those that have tried to convince themselves that Google is a failure despite their profits literally showing they are not failing as a business.

    • lern_too_spel 2 months ago

      They can be incompetent and still successful. Look at Android. Its competition is an absolute joke, but Android still can't get dominant market share in the US even though it is cheaper than free to use in products. That's just bad management.

    • YurgenJurgensen 2 months ago

      A business built around extracting a non-renewable resource can make record profits while still being doomed in the long-term. In this case, the resource Google may be unsustainably harvesting is consumer goodwill and partner trust.

      • encryptluks2 2 months ago

        I don't think so. Firefox has been on a mission for some time to try to market itself as the safe browser despite Chromium being open source and have roughly the same telemetry enabled by default in both. Shutting down a consumer service like Stadia isn't all bad.. in all honesty I think it is the most disappointing to people who used it on a regular basis and not some person to come by and give their two cents about how they feel Google wronged them for something unrelated.

        People liked Stadia and that is why this is hard on some people but the are not going to jump on the Google hate train over every dramatic event that is often just hyperbole. They'll remember Google for creating something awesome and ahead of it's time, and Google may actually revamp that to scale to personal gaming that runs on local hardware instead.

        I believe a lot of game services streaming services just aren't that profitable. The hardware required to stream games to consumers in HD or 4k is expensive. Heck, just a few months ago I was looking at graphics cards and the lower end were still priced around $600 for a modern consumer graphics card. Then having a bunch of servers and ways to dedicate those to users using some form of graphics sharing and doing to with very little latency cost a fortune and probably didn't produce the revenue because of that.

        I'd people are leaving Google or this then they can certainly try make an appealing argument about how Stadia damaged them but that Netflix, Hulu, etc don't ever pivot their plans and pricings