Google looks towards selling Stadia tech to third parties

Can Google salvage their dying game streaming service?

Maud Webster
21st February 2022
Image: Spacenerd
Google launched Stadia, a platform to stream games through Google Chrome as well as Chromecast and Android TV, in 2019. This allowed Google to enter the competitive gaming market, with a service they hoped would offer a “console-quality experience without clunky, space-consuming hardware”. However, a mere two years later Google has quietly “demoted” the project, deciding to shift focus from video games to playable experiences and online demos.

An exclusive report from Business Insider, which was published earlier this month, suggests the company is attempting to strike deals with brands such as Peloton under the brand ‘Google Stream’ - which will reportedly be the new band name for the Stadia technology. This follows the Stadia service encountering “disappointing sales” and generally performing much worse than Google had anticipated. The report suggested that a key problem for the service has been user retention, missing the target of one million monthly active users by 25% (by the end of 2020).

That particular Google service now seems more destined for the graveyard than ever before

Zack Zwiezen, Kotaku

These deals with brands including Capcom and Peloton will see Google strip the branding from Stadia and essentially offer buying companies the opportunity to rebrand it. For example, if a deal with Peloton was reached then they could integrate Google’s Stadia technology into Peloton’s equipment, allowing users to play games whilst exercising. 

Stadia tweeted the day after the report went out: “If you hear one thing, hear this: The Stadia team is working really hard on a great future for Stadia and cloud gaming.” The Tweet was made alongside another thread pointing out the 100 games added to the service last year and vaguely implying new features coming soon. 

Zwiezen for Kotaku calls the commercially-focused move “probably a smart idea”, allowing Google to “salvage” the resources which have gone into the project. However, Zwiezen cynically concludes that he would "recommend not buying any games on Stadia as that particular Google service now seems more destined for the graveyard than ever before”. Many tech journalists have also shared this opinion on Stadia, making it more of a matter of when than if the service will cease supporting gaming for its users. 

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AUTHOR: Maud Webster
she/they | third year architecture & urban planning student @ newcastle | co-head of culture for the 21/22 academic year

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