CAI Shuyue, 21st Century Business Herald, Shanghai
Stadia, the leading cloud gaming platform, went to the end of the shutdown after repeated operations of trial and error.
On September 29, Google announced that it would shut down Stadia servers on January 18, 2023. Until then, players will still be able to play games in Stadia's library through online servers. At the same time, players who have previously purchased Stadia software and hardware can also apply for a refund from the platform. Stadia Pro, a subscription-based service on the platform, doesn't support refunds, however.
"Although Stadia's streaming game for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it did not engage as we expected, and as a result we have made the difficult decision to begin shutting down Stadia's streaming service." In a post at Google's blog The Keyword, Stadia Vice President and general Manager Phil Harrison wrote The same day.
Looking back on Stadia's previous development, it has only been three years since its establishment. The service was first unveiled by Google at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2019. In addition to the Stadia platform, Google launched the Stadia Games and Entertainment division in March of the same year, headed by former Ubisoft Toronto CEO Jade Raymond.
However, Stadia's downsizing has also come quickly. Google shut down its Stadia Games and Entertainment division on February 1, 2021, after repeatedly running into a wall in terms of platform operations and game self-development. In March, Stadia was downgraded again by the business. At the Google Game Developer Summit on March 15, Google announced that it would define Stadia's technology as "immersive gaming streaming" and sell Stadia as part of its Google Cloud business.
Notably, at the Code Conference in early September, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he wanted to improve the company's operating efficiency by 20%. Shutting down Stadia may be the first step in Google's "cost-cutting" strategy.
In fact, Stadia's problems are similar to those of other cloud gaming platforms.
A coordinate Beijing game industry told 21 reporters, IDC (Internet data center) resource shortage and cloud games on the high bandwidth requirements, resulting in the current market cloud game platform delay problem has always been unable to solve.
"The peak bit rate of 4K video content requires about 4 to 5 gigabytes of data per hour, but for cloud gaming content of the same quality, it may require more than 10 gigabytes of data." Analysys entertainment culture consumption industry center analyst Ma Xin explained to reporters the cloud game demand data volume.
Ma Xin further pointed out that operation and maintenance cost, business model, user experience these three are still difficult to reconcile in the cloud game platform contradictions. "Edge computing is for the industrial Internet, not the content Internet, which means that edge computing does nothing for cloud gaming." He said.
It's worth noting that while the Stadia platform is being shut down, its underlying technology remains the focus of Google's toB business layout.
Noting that the underlying technology platform supporting Stadia is market-proven at scale, Phil Harrison said, "We see an opportunity to apply this technology to other Google businesses like YouTube, Google Play, and augmented reality. And we plan to offer it to our industry partners. We remain strongly committed to gaming and will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms to fuel the success of developers, industry partners, cloud service customers and creators."
When it comes to the future development of cloud gaming technology, Ma believes that the application scenarios of cloud games will become more and more diversified. Cloud real-time rendering and enhancing product gameplay will be the main development direction in the future. "In a marketing scenario, for example, consumers can access the live stream as players to further increase the sense of participation. And into the native cloud games, a number of domestic companies have begun to develop cloud rendering technology and establish relevant platforms, but also for the future game industry resources, manpower aggregation provides the direction."