Technology

No, Google Stadia won’t shut down, but how long will it last?

Stadia – Google’s game streaming platform – has looked shaky ever since it lost its own game studios just 15 months after launch. But more than a year after that ominous sign, Stadia is still up and running, adding around 100 games (of varying quality) every year.

Recently, a very sketchy rumor suggested that the service has finally fizzled out. In a now-deleted post on the Stadia Facebook group, someone claiming to have insider information claimed that Google has an “exit plan” for the service and its shutdown will be completed “by the end of the summer.”

“Just a warning,” the message said. “My old colleague and friend Is [sic.] now one of Google’s regional managers,” he continues, setting the stage for something that is almost certainly fictional. In short, Google is starting [Stadia] exit plan. They didn’t have an exact end date for service, but they said by the end of the summer.”

It further states that the company “will not outsource its services or servers to any other competition per se, and this will be very similar to what they did with Google Play Music.” Same exit approach and strategy.”

This is actually the opposite of what happened with Google Play Music, which merged with YouTube Music after the closure. You might think that a Google regional manager is familiar with the company’s recent history.

The entire post was captured for posterity by the Killed By Google Twitter account and you can read it below:

In any case, like many of the viral “each other” messages on Facebook, it’s all nonsense. Google has directly denied this story. (will open in a new tab)and gently poked fun at him via a Stadia social media account:

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So, Stadia is safe for the summer and probably the rest of the year. Still, it would be unwise to bet on its long-term prospects.

How long can Stadia last?

google stadium

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Perhaps Google is wise not to disclose the number of active Stadia users, so it’s hard to accurately calculate market share. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying.

When some numbers were released in February, one Redditor (will open in a new tab) noticed that only 5,390 of the 860,000 people who play Destiny 2 do so through Stadia. This is 0.6% of the total number of players.

Coincidentally—or perhaps not—these stats were released about a week before word got out that Google was “deprioritizing” Stadia. The Stadia team is reportedly only spending about 20% of their time on Stadia itself, with the rest of the time working on a streaming service for third parties like Peloton, Capcom, and AT&T.

Add to that the lack of third-party exclusives and the mixed quality of the hundreds or so games Stadia receives a year, and it indicates the service is surviving rather than thriving.

It can only work so long. If there are few new subscribers, the numbers will only go one way, and even a business fed from Google’s deep pockets cannot last forever. Just ask Google Reader, Google Buzz, Google Wave, Google Plus and Pixel Slate.

Stadia may not be dead by the end of summer 2022, but I wouldn’t want it to be here by fall 2024.

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