Just after three years of initial launch, Google has decided to shut down Stadia, it’s cloud gaming platform. Now, there’s one thing that demands our attention -The promise of better ‘Games As A Service’ and is it enough of a reason to stray away from the very notion that makes gaming fun?
I believe, for cloud gaming to have a future, companies need to double down on making quality games. It’s the games that make a platform, not the other way around. We’ve seen companies like Sony and Nintendo focus primarily on their first-party lineup to build an impressive lineup of games. Can you imagine PlayStation without God of War, Uncharted or Crash Bandicoot? Or let’s say, Nintendo without Mario or the Zelda games? No, right?
Despite not launching in India, the Nintendo Switch has found an audience and continues to sell well. Yes, it’s a physical console meant for a tangible experience, but let’s get one thing straight, no one in their right mind would invest in it, if it weren’t for Nintendo’s first-party lineup.
Google failed to acknowledge that brining quality games to to its platform should have been the priority from the get-go. Over past few years, Google could not launch any first-party or perhaps an “exclusive” title on its Stadia service. Also, the third-party games that it did bring to the platform ran better on physical consoles like Xbox and PlayStation owing to irregularities while gaming on the cloud.
Imagine this - You own a PlayStation 5 console and want to play Destiny 2, would you go through the trouble of subscribing to a recurring service, buying a new controller, and then relying on your internet connection speed to ensure a smooth experience? Simply put, no.
So, how could it have possibly succeeded?
Even if we ignore the current limitations of cloud gaming and the fact that most cloud gaming services like GeForce Now have evaded huge markets like India, the very reason that brings people to games is still a major concern to address for most GAAS and to reiterate, it’s the availability of exciting and powerful narratives that makes gaming great.
So, yes, I believe cloud gaming can indeed have a future if companies acknowledge the need for an “original" experience. Inconsistencies with infrastructure and technology will get ironed out eventually but meanwhile, let’s ensure that at least, we are vocal about it.