Following Google’s announcement of the closure of Stadia, Xbox’s Phil Spencer provides some feedback on the closure in a new interview.
speaking to the edge (via the nerf report) this week, Xbox head Phil Spencer addressed topics like the cloud gaming device “Keystone” archived, keeping Call of Duty a cross-platform game while Microsoft tries to acquire Activision Blizzard, and more. He also made comments about the closure of Stadia, the first direct comments Phil Spencer had made about Google’s decision.
Spencer touched for the first time The closure of Stadia in an interview with wsj last monthhinting that he felt part of the reason the Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming option has seen more success it comes down to its business model of being an extension of consoles and PC rather than its own platform.
In this latest interview, Spencer reflects on some of those comments, saying that Google’s choice to launch Stadia as a “streaming subscription [built] around buying games early in introducing a new technology “wasn’t how Xbox felt it should start. Rather, it felt the new experience should “start with something that has the lowest marginal cost to a customer” .
Spencer went on to say:
…we add [cloud gaming] to console and PC, so we gave people choice on the devices they already love to play games on. If you don’t want to wait for that game to download on console, just play from the cloud, or you can try to figure it out and make these things available on PC. Not to make it something against console or PC, but to embrace where people love to go to play, to broaden and give them more choice, including the business model of how a customer builds their library.
Google Stadia offered a free tier just a few months after launch, and eventually launched a library of completely free games and trials, but started with a business model that required a Stadia Pro subscription. Y the purchase of physical hardware as well as games. Despite Google’s best attempts, it was an image that Stadia never quite shook.
Despite that mistake, Xbox’s Phil Spencer believes that Google did a “good job” with Stadia, specifically looking at the technology that powered it, further saying that the hardware connected to Stadia was “strong.”
I have a lot of friends who worked on Stadia and were there at the beginning. I love the investment in technology they made. I thought they did a good job building a cloud platform and the hardware they had was solid.
He also noted that he believes that Google’s efforts in building out Stadia will not be entirely fruitless. He sees potential, as Google did, in similar ideas being used to power demos or deliver games to gamers via YouTube, Twitch or TikTok.
But giving creators the option to instantly deliver a game to players, whether they’re watching YouTube or Twitch or TikTok or whatever, or as a way of distributing demos or builds for feedback, I think there’s a real use for it. for a cloud infrastructure that can allow creators to distribute the game to their clients almost instantly. Not excluding the people who download and play the games, but as one more option for them. Absolutely, I see it, and I think that what Google has created will find a real application there. No doubt about that.
In Google’s original launch for Stadia, the company touted the ability for players to launch a game from an ad on YouTube or a link in a trailer. That functionality arrived on time, just reinforced by free trials of the platformbut it was not widely used in any way or even in such a way that since then, competing platforms have made.
As for the closure of Stadia, and whether Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming could meet the same fate, Phil Spencer said he takes “running a successful business as a very serious part” of his job, and that Xbox is a profitable business. He added that he “loves the different companies we have doing xCloud, Game Pass, the PC app and mobile.”
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