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Google Stadia failed after spending millions to get popular games

Stadia logo
Stadia logo (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google allegedly spent millions to get popular games onto Stadia.
  • However, it failed to deliver promised features and exclusive games.
  • It reportedly missed its targets in sales and users by "hundreds of thousands."

Two new reports, one from Wired and one from Bloomberg have shed new light on what the heck has happened to Google Stadia. Both Wired and Bloomberg reveal that, according to inside sources, Google put a lot of money into getting third-party games on the service, but never got the number of users it was counting on, leading to the closure of the company's two game studios.

Both reports are about the different ways Stadia was doomed from the planning stages. According to Bloomberg, the people developing Stadia were afraid they wouldn't be able to deliver all the promised features on time — and they were right. Bloomberg reports, "The library of games was small and mostly old, with none of Google's exclusives available yet. Most of the features Harrison promised were not actually there, such as the State Share concept."

To compensate, Google apparently poured "tens of million of dollars" into a campaign to get big-name releases onto Stadia. Developers were reportedly shocked at how much money Google was willing to spend to get the big AAA releases, which had already been out for months, onto its platform. They also brought in Jade Raymond, an industry vet, to build an in-house division to develop exclusives, but not soon enough to have any on the console at launch.

Wired's report cites inside sources who say the company didn't seem to realize how long video games take to make, and fired 150 of the developers before either of its two studios could make even one game. To quote the report: "Google wasn't funding games to sell games; it was funding games to sell Stadia," but Stadia's reception proved to be lukewarm.

Actually, "lukewarm" might be giving it too much credit. According to Bloomberg's report, Stadia "missed its targets for sales of controllers and monthly active users by hundreds of thousands."

Rachel Kaser is an Android Central gaming contributor, who's been writing since 2013 and gaming since the age of five. She's covered everything from gaming news, reviews, and analysis -- if it exists in gaming, she knows about it. She also contributes to Future's other sites, iMore and Windows Central. If you want to hear her opinions on games, pop culture, tech, and everything in between, follow her on Twitter @rachelkaser

10 Comments
  • I've been trying it out, cyberpunk with £10 off and the free Stadia Premiere edition tempted me! I haven't bothered with it since I completed cyberpunk and cancelled my Pro subscription as the included games are all crap to me. Having random disconnects when playing was very frustrating, I'm going to get a gaming laptop soon or a xbox series x.
  • "Google didn't seem to realize how long it takes to develop a game?" Is the company board made up of retards, or are they just really lazy? Possibly both. Maybe there's a bit of the old God complex going around the leadership team. A super quick look at some AAA game franchises on Wikipedia tells us this: Red Dead Redemption took 5 years and 800 people to build. Development work on Red Dead Redemption 2 actually started during the development of the original game, sometime between 2005 and 2010, and wasn't ready for release until 2018. Planning and early development for Fallout 4 started in 2009. It was released in 2015. Every version of Assassins Creed takes at least 3 years to build, which is actually pretty fast. The reason they knock them out quickly is because they built the gaming engine years ago and recycle it for every new release. Oh, and the games are generally quite buggy when they arrive. Point is, if I can figure out through a quick search that AAA games take at least 5 years to develop, how come a whole bunch of people at Google couldn't figure it out. In the words of the great Red Foreman.....Dumbass!
  • I am with you on this and I feel Google have become the old Microsoft. We do it to and because we are a big name people will buy it.
    Gaming is not that easy look at Microsoft with the original xbox sold 22 million made a big loss. Went all out with the 360 made massive gains then blew it last gen with the Xbox one. This time round seems they are picking backup but basically spent 7 years putting the peaces together. Google have been out 12 months with this system and alreay throwing the towel in. This is one reason I have not used alot of the eco system. I own a Google home and Google TV but that is it. My phone is a p40 pro so no google services, same with my watch. I did use Google music after zune closed down but they then decided to close that so went to Spotify. Use bing as my search due to Microsoft points. Have 365 subscription. Own a Windows gaming pc and surface pro. For me life is easy without Google and as a business they want to take over the world but if it does not happen within 12 months it's pulled.
  • I think we're in a very similar place...I use a lot of Microsoft hardware and services (surface, 365, Xbox, Bing, etc). I only ended up on Google/Android with the death of Lumia, and am still hopeful that one day, Microsoft will be confident/brave enough to load Windows 10X onto the Surface Duo phone and I'll be the first in line to buy one. You're absolutely right to say that Google are displaying all the arrogance of the old Microsoft. They totally believe that if they build it, the users will come. That business model worked fine 20 years ago, when users had very few choices, but not these days. I still can't believe that Google thought an in-house gaming business would be a successful, multi billion dollar enterprise inside of two years....that's dumber than dog **** thinking right there. Google, take a long hard look at Microsoft in the 2000's under Steve Ballmer and repeat this until it sticks..."we can do better"
  • Man I hate Google. They are such a crap company, I honestly don't why so many people support them. 
  • Limited options...I'm only on Google/Android because Windows 10 Mobile was such a train wreck, and there's no way I'm jumping into Apple's walled garden. I can't think of many companies that take the piss out of their customers as much as Apple do. So stuck with Android until Microsoft or someone else comes up with a viable alternative. Until then, I'll use Microsoft services on my device where possible, and give Google as little of my data and money as possible
  • I jumped ship to iPhone last year and find myself using Google products less and less. I am pretty much down to YouTube and Google maps. Looking back at Google I think man they are the most unorganized company with more money than God.
  • Same here, definitely not going to Apple. I'm overall happy with Android tho, on Samsung ONEUI and I have no limitations. It's good with Windows, and I also have DeX support if I need something for work on the go.
  • They've lost focus. They're too busy peddling rainbows and race-based searches to care about core products.
  • The most positive thing I heard about Stadia was that it ran Cyberpunk better than average. Even then, I'd rather wait for patches and 3000 series cards than to play the game sort-of as intended.