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Here's What's Really Going On With Google Stadia

Google Stadia has been an ambitious project from the start. The idea that a gamer could log into a subscription service like Netflix or Hulu and get access to a library of different games that could all be streamed directly to a browser without the need for expensive hardware? It seemed almost too good to be true — and it sort of was. The main problem with cloud gaming seems to be that it requires a much faster internet connection than HD television streaming does, and most of the internet providers outside of major cities simply can't support the necessary speeds. Google has been slowly adding features in order to keep its service relevant. It added game sharing, added a search function, and made the service available on iOS devices. Still, it seems that Stadia has been struggling.

Back in early 2021, Google's Phil Harrison had Stadia fans worried when he announced that the company would be exploring new business models that would make the service more of a tech platform and less of a direct competitor to other gaming platforms. Now, Business Insider has just released a report that seems to indicate that Google is following through on that plan and downgrading Stadia.

Google Stadia isn't going to be about gaming anymore

Business Insider reported that Google's priority for its streaming service is no longer to attract new games for players subscribed to their service, but rather to power interactive experiences for other companies like Peloton, Bungie, and Capcom. In fact, cycling enthusiasts who find themselves playing the rhythm-based exercise game "Lanebreak" on Peloton bicycles may have already been utilizing Stadia's repurposed technology without even realizing it. This new service has been re-christened Google Stream, but the technology seems more or less the same. It's merely the customer who has changed.

According to the Business Insider report, (via The Verge) "current and former employees said the priority was now on proof-of-concept work for Google Stream and securing white-label deals. One estimated about 20% of the focus was on the consumer platform." If true, that means that only a fifth of the team's focus remains on maintaining Stadia as a relevant platform for gamers who are subscribed to the service. Google has not yet announced an end to Stadia, but with growing competition from services like Xbox Game Pass and the upcoming Amazon Luna, it seems that the company has given up on trying to keep it competitive and is content to salvage what they can from it before letting it die.