“Google fumbles its chances at creating something special with its launch of Stadia, and has permanently damaged their reputation. Their mistakes will prove to be disastrous in terms of their future potential and forever label them as nothing more than a B-tier gaming platform”
New Features Coming to Stadia… Finally
Google has just had their biggest moment in the spotlight since their initial launch back in November following the latest Stadia Connect video conference. Overall, the event was pretty unremarkable. The most notable reveal from the conference was that Google is finally implementing two big features of the platform that were missing at the initial launch, Crowd Play and Crowd Choice. Both of these features appear to be arriving on the platform sometime in September.
For those of you unfamiliar with Stadia or just these features in particular Crowd Play offers everyday users to be able to play a game with their favorite YouTube streamer with ease. While watching their stream you will be able to see a clickable link in the description which will allow you to join the lobby and play alongside that streamer. Due to the fact that there may be a large amount of people trying to do this you obviously won’t be able to join immediately. You’ll be placed in a waiting room of sorts that will display your number in line if it is anything like the initial demo that Google showed us prior to the platform’s launch.
Crowd Choice is another way for the content creators on YouTube to engage in community interaction by allowing their viewers to make choices that affect the way the streamers play the game via polls. One of the examples we were shown in the Stadia Connect was for Dead by Daylight which happens to be the main game at this time involved in marketing these platform features. In the demo Crowd Choice allowed the viewers of the stream to select whether or not the streamer played as a killer or survivor, as well as which killer the streamer played as.
Both Crowd Choice and Crowd Play were big features that Stadia was using to market pre-orders for the Founder’s Edition following the platforms reveal, and notably both were missing at launch among other features. It appears now Stadia is ready to these out, but not even until September, nearly a year after launch. Crowd Play in particular doesn’t seem too deep of a feature itself being only a clickable hyperlink on streams. I’m not sure what was holding Google back from making these features available back in November besides the lackluster list of games initially. It hurts the platform’s community standing after using Crowd Play and Crowd Choice so heavily in the marketing buildup. Google used them to fuel their pre-order numbers just to have them be unavailable for a year after launching Stadia. That’ll be a decision that will continue to haunt Google and Stadia’s notoriety.
New Games Coming to Stadia
In addition to Stadia announcing that they’re nearly up to date on the launch promises previously made, the platform has revealed some new games that will soon be available, five of which are exclusives. However, the only exclusive of any note that Stadia revealed was Orcs Must Die 3. The highlights of new games coming include Dead by Daylight, Serious Sam 4, Outriders, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, NBA 2K21, Hitman 1-3, and as I said Orcs Must Die 3. Not exactly a list of blockbuster hits. It does, however show the promise of the platform getting access to relevant and new games in the future after showing that Outriders and NBA 2K21 will be available to play at launch. If that continues to happen Stadia may yet have a say in their future.
Community Mistrust and a Damaged Image
After seeing what Stadia will have to offer after nearly a year of being out it appears to me that they simply aren’t ready for a seat at the big boys table anytime soon. Google will not be on the radar of Sony or Microsoft for years to come until they show that they can offer something relevant. Sure their ability to stream games and have them perform effortlessly is unmatched. Anyone who has tried to stream games through Xbox’s Game Pass on a laptop or another device knows that is no easy feat to accomplish. Google is still the tech god we all know it to be. Nonetheless, we won’t be seeing Stadia be a significant competitor as a third party platform. Yes, even in the gaming industry we are stuck hopelessly in a two party system.
Google seems to be comfortable so far just dipping their toes in the water while Sony and Microsoft are pumping it out, bottling it up, and selling it to people worldwide. Google has essentially branded Stadia, unintentionally or not, to be the Mad Catz controllers of the industry today. They’re cheaper when compared to the traditional options for sure. They are functional, working generally without a flaw to be seen, but nobody in their right mind is going to be alright when you pull one out of a drawer and hand it to them to use. The Mad Catz controllers even have that dangerous point on the bottom of each side similar to that of a WW1 trench knife capable of skull bashing anyone.
With risk of losing anyone still reading through the seemingly endless string of metaphors I’m going to really reach with this last one. That very weaponizable point on the bottom signifies the high reaching capabilities hidden inside Stadia to truly be a competing force in the industry. The problem is that nobody is going to give them a chance because of how they make themselves look. Just like the very unappealing allure of the appearance of the Mad Catz controllers, Stadia has egregiously damaged their image. Google could continue to put forth the minimal effort to keep Stadia up and running and forever label the platform a B-tier option for the communiuty, or we could see Google make significant strides to repair the mistrust created following disastrous launch of Stadia back in November. However, at this point, following this latest Stadia Connect, the effort is not there and the platform will continue to not be taken seriously. This is my prophecy, and my prophecy is truth.