Google I/O 2021 was a huge success. The developer conference kicked off with a two-hour keynote that ushered in the future of Google. We’ve seen some amazing developments in machine learning, more comprehensive design considerations, and more across Google’s suite of products.
There was one notable absence from the party: Stadia. Google Game Services didn’t receive any new announcements during the platform-wide keynote. In fact, the word Stadia was never mentioned.
On the one hand, that’s not too surprising. Google I/O isn’t exactly a consumer event; it’s a conference focused on large-scale technological innovations. It will be a bit strange to see Google showing off Resident Evil Village footage in between announcements about its commitment to inclusivity and privacy.
Even still, it’s a bit odd to hear no service mentioned considering Google’s lofty goals for cloud gaming. When the service was first revealed, it stood out for half an hour highlighting how technology makes gaming more accessible. Stadia even had an extensive rollout during its I/O 2019 event, showcasing the technology. For a while, Google positioned it as part of its vision for the future.
This year, Stadia only appeared on the I/O calendar once as part of AMA for Flutter App Builder. Maybe we’ll get some service news as part of some other event, but it doesn’t look like Google has any major developments in store for us.
That doesn’t necessarily mark the end for Stadia. With E3 coming out, it’s possible that Google is saving any news for that event, where they can talk directly to gamers, rather than the heads of tech. It’s also likely that there isn’t much to do in terms of high-level innovation. At this point, the name of the game is Stadia stability. Achieve the basic goal of all cloud gaming services that anyone can play, regardless of their internet access. Perhaps the nuance of how game servers work is just a little too detailed for this type of event.
With that knowledge, it still raises questions about how serious Google is about supporting Stadia in the long run. Recently, the company reportedly laid off about 150 developers when Stadia diverged from indoor games. Since then, there hasn’t been too much news about Google’s plans, save for Resident Evil Village launch on the platform.
Google seems to be at a crossroads with Stadia. As cloud gaming becomes more competitive thanks to established gaming companies like Microsoft, Stadia still needs to find a niche or selling point that actually sells its innovation. At this point, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything significant enough happening behind the scenes to deserve a mention at Google’s biggest rollout of the year.
We’ll probably see those details show up at E3 in just a few weeks. Digital Trends reached out to Google Stadia to see if there are any plans for the platform at the event. We will update this article once we receive a response.