Google just revealed titanic earnings for its fiscal year, but there was no mention of its new game-streaming platform Stadia. How curious.
At the beginning, I called Stadia a revolutionary game-changer. It still has that potential. But Google's incredible inept handling of the service--requiring your phone to use the service, weird forking of other tied services into Stadia, having to buy each game individually, and the expensive $150 up-front cost while the free sub is MIA--has set it back a fair amount. Right now Stadia is lukewarm at best.
Interestingly enough, Google didn't discuss the service whatsoever in its recent earnings call. Google, like Microsoft, doesn't care tremendously about gaming; they're both titans who earn billions from other segments. Case in point: Google earned $4.7 billion from YouTube ads in Q4 (more than Microsoft's entire Xbox segment makes), and an insane $134.8 billion from ads in the total year. Still, though, I expected some discussion on Stadia, especially given how synergistically it was to tie into YouTube, streaming, and overall digital engagement.
But that isn't the case.
A quick CTRL+F of the Google Q4'19 transcript shows no mention of Stadia whatsoever. There's no mention of gaming, or games, either.
Even its earnings press release didn't mention Stadia at all.
No callers or investors asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai about the new game-streaming service. It may have slipped everyone's mind--and that could be the death knell for the service.
This is pretty weird. I wonder if what everyone says about Stadia is true: That Google will just abandon it like it has so many other services and move on.
If so that'd be a shame. The save state sharing feature has such tremendous potential to change gaming; users can carve up interactive gameplay segments and share them to a friend, who can simply click on a link on YouTube or Gmail and play their friend's saves. That kind of interactivity and ease-of-use is powerful.
Google still hasn't announced when Stadia's free option will launch. I was hoping to get more info on that in the earnings call too, but it seems the titan has forgotten it launched a huge game-streaming service.