Google's gaming ambitions are so grand — but all we got was Stadia

Stadia controller
Stadia controller (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • New internal documents from Google detail plans to build "the world's largest gaming platform."
  • These plans included bringing native gaming to Macs, PC, and Android — and even support for Nintendo Switch.
  • The goal was to bring in users and developers to help this platform reach as many people as possible.
  • Stadia eventually fulfilled some of these goals, but it's just a ghost of what Google allegedly wanted.

While the industry now has plenty of great game streaming services these days, they still have serious drawbacks for anyone who isn't on the most solid Gigabit internet, as our own Jennifer Locke put on full display after spending weeks with Stadia on AT&T 5G. For millions of gamers, game streaming will never be as viable a solution as native gaming, and according to documents obtained by The Verge, Google reportedly had plans to bring native gaming to Mac, PC, and Android to create "the world's largest gaming platform."

These plans are among the many, many internal and confidential emails and documents unveiled through the discovery phase of the Apple vs. Epic trial. The Games Futures presentation is dated October 2020 — well after the launch of Google's Stadia game streaming service — and it included plans to turn "every device into a console" so that you could have a native gaming experience on whatever device you had handy, from the best Android phones to MacBooks to PCs, and even Nintendo Switch if some slides are to be believed.

Given the trouble Google had with getting developers to use Stadia in 2020 — and the shutdown of Stadia's in-house studio back in February — it's easy to see why Google would be trying to expand its gaming portfolio by leveraging its other current platforms like Google Play. This five-year plan could still be underway in some shape or form, or they might have never left the planning stages. Still, it's interesting to get another peek behind the curtain of Google's struggle to become a proper gaming platform alongside Sony and Microsoft.

In the meantime, Google still has Google Stadia for streaming AAA games across basically any device with Google Chrome and Bluetooth and Google Play Pass for getting hundreds of games — and ad-free versions of popular apps like Accuweather and KWGT — but it's fun to imagine what Google could come with to offer a more robust gaming experience.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.