Google Stadia's launch has been nothing short of a nightmare

Stadia logo
Stadia logo (Image credit: Android Central)

Were you excited for Google Stadia? A promise of gaming anywhere on any device, regardless of specs. It's a lofty vision that Google sold, and one that certainly seems far off from what we got in reality. The service still has a long, long way to go before it can be a viable product for the masses.

Now before I really begin, I'd like to present a live look at the Google Stadia offices:

This is Fine

Source: K.C. Green (Image credit: Source: K.C. Green)

Google just can't catch a break. First we found out shortly before launch that Stadia would launch with only 12 games, which was quickly bumped to 22 games after Google heard outcry regarding the sparse offerings, because apparently the numbers and release dates are arbitrary and it can pull games out of a magic hat whenever it'd like. Google said developers wouldn't need to do anything special to get existing games to work on Stadia, anyways. Then we found out it would be missing several crucial features upon release. And after release, players discovered that it was causing their Chromecast Ultras to overheat and turn off — one of the few devices at launch that supports Stadia.

And let's not forget that due to a translation error or ill-informed social media intern, Stadia Pro members thought (for at least a few hours) that they would not be able to keep any games that they bought using their Pro exclusive discounts. This turned out to be false — you will be allowed to keep all games bought with a discount using a Pro membership even after your subscription lapses — but the damage of misinformation circulating around has been done. You can't erase that. Misinformation spreads like wildfire on the internet.

Stadia features tie-in capability with YouTube

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

To put it into perspective, this was an important launch for Google that could have revolutionized the gaming landscape, and the response has been… quiet. Aside from people outright roasting the service immediately before and after launch, talk about Stadia has kind of fallen off. People just aren't discussing it. Now more than ever, people's attention and time are fleeting. To not be able to capitalize on word of mouth in a big way is disconcerting. Unless you're a huge video game fan who already follows the industry, you probably haven't even heard of Google Stadia, much less know what it is.

Nothing quite sums up Stadia's launch like this statement from Russell Holly in our review:

Out of the box, you get a Founder's Edition Stadia Controller, a charging cable with wall plug, and a Chromecast Ultra. The USB cable in the box is USB-A on one end and USB-C on the other end, which is an odd decision when the only phones supported by Stadia right now all use USB-C to charge it just like the Stadia Controller. That means, instead of including a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, which is something Google already does with its Pixel phones, Stadia makes you go look for another cable if you want to connect the controller to your phone to play.

The controller used for Stadia

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Google's problems are only going to get worse the more it deflects The company said that ISPs will solve for those pesky data caps. That developers are the reason games aren't streaming at 4K. But those are both issues that Google needs to handle. Not the other way around. It can't absolve itself from blame and hope for the best.

But don't underestimate the service just because of its botched launch. It is by no means dead on arrival. Google is treating it like a live service that continues to evolve, and it could become amazing with the right support. It just isn't right now. The service quality is hit or miss at best, and that's a far cry from the vision that Google sold when it first announced Stadia.

It certainly wouldn't be the first platform to stumble at the start. Microsoft reportedly spent $1.15 billion to fix the Xbox 360's infamous Red Ring of Death. Let's just hope Google Stadia can find its place near the finish line.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.

  • The Misinformation Superhighway! LOL!
    Thanks for all the clarifications and updates!
  • "The company said that ISPs will solve for those pesky data caps."
    - Insane as it sounds, this may be a ploy to force landline ISPs to stop charging for data overages by flooding them with demand. Something similar happened on the wireless side, as most carriers simply throttle overusers instead of charging them.
  • Apart from being part of the late invite code send fiasco, it's been working great for me. I know it's trendy to give platforms for shrieking, hard-done-by gamers because apart from playing games that's what they spend most of their time doing, but the launch is over now, and the features will be added. I got myself a great game controller, a chromecast ultra, and come Dec 1 four games covering a wide range of genre types. Been having zero latency issues(wired ethernet FTW), games look as good or better than my PS4, and the features will only get better. Rage on by all means, because I know it's entertaining, but I'm enjoying the service.