Google’s Stadia Is Not Ready For Prime Time

Now that Stadia’s been out for a few days, it’s safe to say Google’s game-streaming platform launch isn’t going smoothly. Some people who pre-ordered Stadia still didn’t get codes to set up their accounts as of two days after launch, and features like Stream Connect and Crowd Play are missing. Stadia so far feels like a beta program…that you pay to participate in.

While all signs point to a streaming future for everything, maybe that day isn’t as close as it seemed. I talked with Kotaku’s Joshua Rivera about our experiences with Stadia so far, from the ability to instantly jump right into new games to the fact that Google is currently charging as much as Xbox Game Pass for a worse deal. Will Stadia stand up to the next generation of consoles? Like I said in my impressions, when it works, it feels magical, but as it stands, it’s not clear why anyone would actually want the service right now.


Here’s an excerpt:

Paul: There’s so much this [Stadia] launch leaves at the door. It would’ve been so much of an easier sell if it came out and was like every smart TV that has access to channels like YouTube—you can download Stadia—or any existing Chromecasts. The need to plug your controller into your phone and then plug into the PC to play on your browser.


Joshua: Right. Because technically you have to stop it on one screen and start it up on the next. It’s not that seamless. It’s pretty quick. It’ll take you less than 30 seconds, but it’s not that magical thing.

Paul: No, not yet. I am curious about the future of Stadia. Google obviously has the money to throw at Stadia and work on this moving forward, but I’m curious if they’ve taken stock of things like Xbox Games Pass, which in my opinion is a much better deal for 10 bucks a month. Stadia is offering Samurai Shodown [and Destiny 2] for free for November which is kinda cool. That game’s pretty sweet and it worked really well. But I’m wondering if they pivot and offer a subscription service. What can they do from here on out? With Xcloud right around the corner, and the next Xbox and PlayStation coming out next year, Stadia feels like it’s trying to get ahead of everything. I’m not sure why they decided to do this yet. I can’t figure it out! As it stands right now, it’s not something I can recommend.

Joshua: You see a lot of people online like speculating that they didn’t do their research or why do they not have exclusives? Do they not know what gamers want? Google’s a tech company. I think one of the complaints about Stadia right now is that you’re basically paying to get into a beta. That is a scam if you ask me, but also it’s a scam that keeps the amount of people in Stadia mangeable probably. When we were playing, it worked pretty well. If everyone who wanted a Stadia got one, will it still work well? I don’t know.

Video Producer, Kotaku. Fluent in Spanglish. Tetris Master. Streamer. Host of The Optional Podcast.


I think what’s really going to kill this thing (aside from the crappy internet service here in the states) is that you have to pay full retail price for most of the games. If this was, say, a 20$ a month subscription service that just let you stream whatever game you wanted, I feel like it’d be a more viable model. But the thought of paying full fucking price for something that could be dropped from the service at any time (which happens all the time on Netflix, Hulu, ect) curls my hair. (Hell, right now Red Dead Redemption 2's digital version is on sale for $29.99 on Xbox One, and if you download it, it’s on your HDD for as long as you want. On Stadia it’s $59.99, and if those servers go down? Tough shit.)