It’s all about live-service partners, now.
Mar 9, 2023 12:50 am
Mar 9, 2023 12:38 am
Google ended its Stadia services months ago, but it’s not out of the games industry entirely. Instead of building its own platform, Google is pursuing live-service games to support using its Cloud infrastructure and admitting past endeavors didn’t work well alone.
Speaking to Axios, Google Cloud’s director of games industry solutions, Jack Buser, offered insight into the company’s new gaming strategy. Instead of pursuing its old consumer-facing platform, Google is bundling Cloud services for live-service game publishers. Buser said they’re still “absolutely committed to games,” but the future looks different after Stadia.
Screenshots of Worm Game, Google Stadia’s Final Game
“It was at that moment when we basically had to make decisions about Stadia that we realized that at Google Cloud, we are at our best when we’re helping other people build this stuff, not necessarily building it ourselves,” Buser told Axios.
It’s a pivot positioning Google as competition for other Cloud infrastructure providers, like Amazon and Microsoft, and abandoning its pursuit as a gaming platform. Google Cloud has already partnered with publishers and developers like Niantic, Embracer Group, and 2K. The service is one that’s distinctly different from its original Stadia offerings, it’s not there to provide the old Stadia streaming tech.
“We are not offering that streaming option, because it was tied to Stadia itself,” Buser told Axios’ Stephen Totilo. “So, unfortunately, when we decided to not move forward with Stadia, that sort of offering could no longer be offered as well.”
The options Buser mentioned was an AT&T deal from 2021, where Google’s Stadia tech powered the wireless provider’s game-streaming via mobile browser.
Google’s tumultuous saga with Stadia came to a close on January 18 of this year, refunding hardware and other Google Play-related purchases in 2022. However, don’t throw out any old Stadia controllers lying around, as those may still come in handy. You can’t use them for Google’s platform anymore, but a Bluetooth update should get it working elsewhere.
Andrea Shearon is a freelance contributor for IGN covering games and entertainment. She’s worn several hats over her seven-year career in the games industry, with bylines over at Fanbyte, USA Today’s FTW, TheGamer, VG247, and RPG Site. Find her on Twitter (@Maajora) or the Materia Possessions podcast chatting about FFXIV, RPGs, and any series involving giant robots.