Stadia finally added a search bar but it needs to do more to succeed in the gaming world
Google will need to prove itself against the gaming giants of the world.
Google has finally added a search function to Stadia for Web. Yes, you read that correctly. The company, whose name has become synonymous with searching for something, took almost two years to add search functionality to its game streaming service.
Let’s just break that down a little bit. Stadia has been around since late 2019 and has since grown to have a library of over 170 games. Up until this week, you would literally have to scroll through the list in hopes of finding the game you were looking for.
This is quite ridiculous, considering Google’s background. As a website that was originally developed as an internet search engine, you would think Google would understand the importance of having a search tool for Stadia, but apparently, that’s not the case.
Just to put this into perspective a bit, I was invited to participate in the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta on web browsers, which just launched last week. Even that service, which is still in the early beta stages, has a search function to help navigate the list of games available.
When I first heard about Stadia a couple of years ago, I thought there was no company that would be better equipped for game streaming than Google. Boy, was I wrong. For full transparency, I have yet to try Stadia myself, but I have been keeping up with the platform, and most of the news surrounding it is not necessarily good.
Stadia has continued to drop the ball
The lack of a search bar is definitely not the first area where Stadia has failed to deliver. On the same subject of the Stadia user interface, the platform has also failed to include a few other quality of life features. This most recent update will also be the first time Stadia has had any kind of sorting for its massive list of games.
Google is also just now toying with the idea of adding features like activity feeds to help connect with friends. These are features that have been found on other gaming platforms for years, so there’s no reason why Google didn’t have things like this from the beginning.
Stadia has also had its fair share of issues with lawsuits. The company faced class-action suits from game publishers in New York over claims that the platform was capable of 4K streaming. Apparently, Stadia advertised 4K streaming when in reality it was only upscaling lower resolutions. It’s not a great look when the game companies are suing your platform.
Then, of course, there is the trouble with Stadia’s first-party game studios. Back in February, Google announced that it would be closing its first-party game studios in an effort to focus on the Stadia platform itself. This ultimately wasn’t a surprise. It seemed like Google was maybe trying to move too fast at the time. What followed, however, was a pretty big blunder.
Around the same time that Stadia decided to close its studios, it released its first-party title Journey to the Savage Planet. Like a lot of games nowadays, Journey to the Savage Planet released in a pretty broken state on the Stadia.
Normally, that’s not that much of an issue. Many games release full of bugs, but a day-one patch can generally address the major issues. The issue with Journey to the Savage Planet was that there was no one left to fix the bugs. Google had, ironically, shut down the studio that made the game the same day the game came out. This whole situation was pretty comical.
Competition is stiffening
Stadia was one of the first in this new wave of game streaming. While a couple of platforms had attempted something like this in the past, Google seemed poised to be the first real success in the game streaming world. But the competition is starting to make some headway.
Now, there are several game streaming services available from some pretty big names in gaming. Both of the major console brands have a game streaming service where users can play a variety of new and old games.
PlayStation Now is available for PS4, PS5, and Windows and has hundreds of games that users can play. PS Now gives users access to over 800 PS2, PS3, or PS4 games available as part of the service.
Xbox has Xbox Cloud Gaming, which is part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and it offers over 100 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, or Xbox 360 games. It has been available on Android for a while, and the company just launched an iOS and PC beta recently, making the service available to more users.
There’s also Nvidia’s GeForce Now, which is a PC-based platform that works well with Steam, making it a more appealing option for some PC gamers.
Google has some pretty stiff competition in the game streaming world. All of these companies have been involved with gaming for decades, and they know what it takes to succeed. If Google wants Stadia to be able to compete with the gaming giants, it can’t be making mistakes like forgetting a search bar for almost two years.
Can Stadia ultimately succeed?
Game streaming is still very early in its development, and I don’t think anyone really knows what the service is going to look like in its end state. There is still plenty of time for any company to innovate and develop something unique that will take game streaming to the next level.
One thing is definitely true: Google has plenty of money to throw at Stadia to help it succeed. If the company is confident in its platform, I have no doubt that it can do whatever is necessary to make Stadia ultimately succeed in the future.
But it’s going to be pretty difficult for Stadia to compete with the major gaming companies. They have such a large advantage in terms of experience, and they also have plenty of money to spend on development. Ultimately, if Google wants to succeed, they need to become more in touch with the video gaming world, and avoid these little mistakes.
We gamers know what we want, and we know the other guys are going to deliver. It’s up to Google to prove that it has what it takes to succeed in video games.
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