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Gaming Platform Wars | Google’s Stadia assures public, the platform is “alive and well”

Cloud Gaming is hot right now and the industry is still maturing, the competitors are duking out for those precious monthly subscription dollars and doing everything they can to lock gamers into one platform or another. Google’s Stadia has had some ups and some serious downs thus far. In an interview with GameIndustry.biz with Stadia’s Nate Ahearn, he attempted to assure the interviewer that things were just fine and was quick to point out that 100 new games are launching this year on the service.

“We’re well on our way to over 100 new games launching on Stadia in 2021, and we’re continuing to make Stadia a great place to play games on devices you already own,” Ahearn said. “I’d tell any non-believers to take notice of how we’re continuing to put our words into action, as we grow the Stadia Makers program and partner with AAA studios like Capcom, EA, Square Enix, Ubisoft and others.”

Nate Ahern, Google

The new head of product for Stadia is now Dov Zimring:

“Dov has been instrumental as a senior leader in the product development for both Project Stream and Stadia,” the spokesperson added. “He will be leading the team toward our goals of creating the best possible platform for gamers and technology for our partners.”

While tech company’s such as Google used to be the opposite of what you would call ‘corporate culture’, it seems that not all is well at Google and their fledgling Cloud Gaming service Stadia. It was reported today that Stadia’s VP and Head of Product, John Justice has left Google as reported by The Information. This news comes after months of turmoil and missed expectations with the Stadia gaming service.

Turmoil at Google

John Justice joined Google and Stadia in 2019, John’s LinkedIn page, has not yet been updated to reflect his departure, which is not unusual while workers plan their next steps. This news comes a week after Stadia launched its UI revamp that included a new search bar and enhanced explore tab, along with the mobile web app enhancements.

Cloud Gaming industry

With Stadia, you buy digital games that you cannot take with you to other cloud gaming platforms unlike Xbox Game Pass Ultimate where you cannot purchase games for use in the cloud, but as a side benefit can leave and go to another service easily because there is no lock-in. Google is trying to create lock-in because that is the only way they will stay relevant and maybe be one of the last two standing.

Google’s model is like a console model in the cloud, they may have well just shipped an actual console because this model may not hold up to the competition that lets you play the whole catalog of AAA titles for monthly subscription. For more money you can subscribe to Stadia Pro, but you have to claim Pro games, this is similar to claiming Xbox Live Gold free games every month, but the primary model for Stadia is purchasing games on the service.

Mindshare is key, how many cloud gaming services can you name? How many can your kid brother name? What services do you think of when the word cloud gaming comes to mind? Mindshare is key.

Google recently pulled the plug on its first-party game studio for developing Stadia exclusives, which means it is now relying on 3rd party game devs to give its platform value in the eyes of new subscribers. Could this move be a harbinger of future events, only time will tell.

A former industry insider and tech industry enthusiast.

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