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Google Stadia Players May Be Fleeing The Service

Things have been pretty rocky for Google Stadia ever since its rather unimpressive launch this past November. Now it looks, at least anecdotally, like some of Stadia's Founder's Edition buyers have had enough.

Destiny 2 was a Google Stadia launch title, given away free to all Founder's Edition buyers. That means its player count serves as a fairly decent indicator of Stadia's popularity. Paul Tassi at Forbes found that, at launch, Destiny 2 on Stadia had around 19,400 players. Fast forward to the beginning of January, however, and that number had dropped fairly significantly. On Jan. 3, the Stadia version of Destiny 2 had just 8,020 concurrent players.

That dramatic reduction occurred, by the way, as Destiny 2's numbers remained fairly consistent on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One over the same period of time. So it's not that a whole lot of people just stopped playing Destiny 2; it's that a lot of players on Google Stadia did.

On the Destiny 2 side of things, this is really bad news, as it means players will have a much harder time loading into strikes, crucible matches, and so on. It highlights a major criticism many had with the Stadia version of Destiny 2; it can't do cross-play with the PC version. Some believed fairly early on that Stadia wouldn't have the player base to support such a title, and those people look pretty smart right now.

It's even worse on the Stadia side, though. If these numbers are indicative of a wider trend, it could mean boatloads of Stadia players have decided the service just isn't for them. Google's streaming platform hasn't been the revolution it promised to be, and unlike rough console launches in the past — where players have invested $400 and $500 — Google Stadia's Founder's Edition rang up at just $129. That's a lot easier to walk away from.

We doubt we'll get solid numbers from Google before Stadia launches fully to the public. At that time, 1080p streaming will be free to whoever purchases a game. That version of Stadia — called Stadia Base — is set to launch sometime in 2020, and could help bolster Stadia's numbers moving forward.

For now, though, things aren't looking so hot.