Is Stadia getting any better. That is a very interesting question honestly. Not one easily predicted. Alot of people are already condemning the service and also seemingly not understanding why anyone would use the service where your games could go away if the service closes. Well there are a few very interesting points I want to make. Some for Stadia and some against it and then we will see where we end up shall we?
First, what is Google Stadia?
We have to talk about first what the service is and what it does. Stadia is a streaming game service. Think of it kind of like a Netflix but for video games.. but with a smaller library which we will get to. You have to buy the games you want and then you can stream them pretty much on any device that you can get Stadia onto. I play on a home theatre projector using a Chromecast ultra mostly. Otherwise, I also occasionally play on my phone, laptop, and desktop computer. You pretty much buy your game and then stream it. No downloading or updates at all. Just buy and then BAM instant game time.
Also I will say that they have a Stadia pro service model that is pretty much gamepass but on Stadia. It gets you all the pro games for free which is cool for a smooth 10 bucks a month. To have that all instantly. Again though for you can play the games that you buy on the service for free anytime without any subscription. Play it anywhere and anytime. That is a convenience I am sure alot of parents or career driven individuals need. Sometimes you don't have the time to wait to download and then update game with huge patches. This bring us to the first point.
It has a convenience factor
When you have kids or a job that has long hours and takes up a good chunk of time, time become a commodity that is alot more special and you may want some time for games. You may not have time to wait for a new patch or for a game to download. Games keep getting bigger and bigger which means longer download times and in some cases games have day one patches that are necessary and those can also mean big downloads. You may have an hour or two to play and one big patch could ruin that. Life can be a fine balance of time. Stadia solves that with no wait times. It's just ready to go whenever you are. That does mean one thing that may be a negative...
Data cap users will have issues
If you are on a data cap, this may not be something you can do. Stadia can use anywhere from 4.5gb all the way to 20gb of data every hour depending what quality you are streaming and how demanding the game can be. That can eat up data pretty fast if you aren't careful. You would think with how technology is there days, that data caps would be a thing of the past but nope. In fact, since the pandemic has found many people staying home and working remotely, people have discovered their internet actually has a cap. This is a foreign concept to me because my data and internet has always been unlimited and I couldn't imagine it any other way, but this is definitely something to think about when it comes to Stadia as the service can go through it fast.
Stadia has stability on point
I have tried all the services that offer game streaming. That does for microsoft's xcloud gamepass streaming, Geforce now, Luna, and even PS now. I have found that for me personally, Stadia has been the most stable across the board. Gamepass had moments where it would chug along and lag at moments as if it was trying to keep up but just couldn't. When it was able to keep up, it was a smooth experience but it varied alot of the time to the point where I never knew if it was going to be a smooth experience or a bad one that day. Geforce now was decent but it was also alot of waiting in line to just play the game. I liked that it used titles I already owned but not all the titles were available and like I said, alot of the time I had to wait. Once in a game, it was stable alot of those times but there were instances where it just wasn't smooth as it could be.
Stutters and some input lag would plague me sometimes with the service. Luna was okay, but my major gripe was that there isn't any android support and that wasn't okay for me as I sometimes game stream on my phone just because at some points, it is the most convenient. If I am resting in the living room with family, the tv is probably being used and the most convenient way for me to easily game is to load up a streaming service on my phone and to play it that way. Luna didn't give me that option so that already was a big strike against it for me. There were also occasionally a stutter here and there plus just a little too much input lag for me. PS now was very playable for me. I could stream to my ps4 or remote play from my phone which was a plus. It didn't stutter for me.
There was the tiniest of input lag sometimes, but a majority of the time it was unnoticeable. I played plenty of bloodborne this way and gamed lots of the old ratchet and clank games using this method and all worked surprisingly well. Sony has said they have big plans for ps now so I can't see what they do to compete against gamepass. Lastly is Stadia. No matter what I loaded Stadia onto, whether it was my Chromecast Ultra, laptop, desktop, tablet, or my phone. It was always an incredibly stable experience with great resolution. Stadia was the one service where if you handed me a controller and told me to just play what was on the screen, I wouldn't have been able to say it was streaming. It is the only service that worked on my phone well enough for me to call a console experience. It was smooth and worked the best for me hands down. There were times where the game wouldn't load or the service was slow to load up, but those moments were few and far between. Definitely the most stable experience out of what's available.
Fear of library loss
Alot of people that shun the service are the ones that don't want to use the service based on the fact that there could be a chance you'll lose the games you buy if the service ever closes. Google has a habit of just suddenly closing projects and just trashing them. Google hangouts, google cardboard, Fiber tv, google plus, and the list goes on. So people really are just worried that Stadia could end up in the graveyard and then all those games you bought will just go poof into the air. Now I imagine IF google was to ever close Stadia, I think they would have something in place to be able to either get those games through steam, epic, or some other kind of way digitally. There would be a backlash like no other if they were to close shop and not give the players a way to have access to those games. They could even just leave the service online and you just have access to the games you already own on the service. I do see the worry, but I don't think Google is counting Stadia out. But that brings me to another point..
The great refocus
The library has gotten stronger but it was purely an utter joke at the very beginning of the service. The library was abysmal and was one of the many reason why Stadia had a horrible launch. The library is still nothing compared to consoles for sure, but it is gaining some ground and I do believe that if they keep up the pace, that they can do great things with their library with all sorts of new addition. Google recently spent a pretty penny getting Resident Evil 7 and 8 on Stadia. 10 million dollars to be exact so maybe that shows some confidence.
If they keep acquiring big games like that, it will definitely help them gain more traction. They can do wonders with big games. Stadia did gain some praise and media attention when Cyberpunk 2077 came out and Stadia was one of the best (if not the best) way to play the game easily. Not to mention that Google had a promotion going on where if you bought Cyberpunk, you would also get a Stadia premiere bundle which includes a nice Stadia controller and Chromecast ultra which was a great deal. They are doing the same thing now for Resident Evil 8. So they are trying to make great strides in gaining a bigger user base and also game library. They just have to keep up that focus and most of all be honest with their community.
As I was writing this piece, more Stadia news came to fruition and it doesn't look too great honestly. John Justice, who was Google Stadia’s Vice President and Head of Product, no longer works for google anymore it seems. Google confirmed today after leaked rumors got out so it is official. This is really does leave an even more bad taste in the mouths of people who support and are a fan of the service and make potential customers even more hesitant to get into the service. No one wants to buy a game from a service that may not be around in a year and with bad news surrounding Stadia happening more and more, it's not honestly looking the greatest.
So can it survive?
Stadia as a service? I'm not too sure honestly especially with the new developments that have happened. Stadia as in the technology? That is definitely sticking around. Does Google make me nervous with most of their products and services? Ofcourse with their track record, but I would expect them to have some sort of plan in place incase they do shut down. Stadia to them is more than a service. It is a technology which can also be sold to companies so Stadia's tech will most definitely live on in some fashion no matter what. The service though? Only time can really tell for sure.
I have my hopes with Google slowly building the library more and more with time. The real question is will more people come to the service and use it? That will ultimately determine if Google Stadia will be able to hold strong as a service. If any good news on Stadia will happen, it will be at Google I/O event in a few weeks so we shall see if any good news can come out of this! Here's to hoping it will stick around! Thank you guys for reading through this article. Feel free to check out my other content and check back for new content periodically!