“The world is waiting for Google Stadia to flop”

Or so said a headline from the Verge in an article posted on November 14th. Launching a business to compete with established entrenched competitors is certainly not for the faint of heart. The challenges are nowhere near more magnified than in the business of entertainment. Being the one of the largest companies in the world certainly puts you in a good place to challenge an entrenched competitor but it certainly doesn’t insulate you from the hurdles you need to overcome.

If you have been watching the games industry long enough to have seen games platforms come and go you could not but notice that the burden of fate usually falls on the quality of the exclusive titles available at launch to drive unit sales or the installs of your platforms launcher.

Next week Google launches their Stadia service and from all reports it is shaping up to be a launch like no other platform before it. The web is full of breakdowns of what is being delivered as opposed to what was promised, the lack of titles available and the technical challenges of overcoming capacity and end user data caps.

Google Stadia is definitely not the Netflix of gaming, more simply a new platform that allows you to play a small curated selection of games without investing in dedicated hardware, besides a controller. It’s the largest commercial push into real cloud-based gaming and if you consider it logically, it makes perfect sense.  

When Google Stadia was announced back on March 19th of this year, the developer community was particularly excited and no doubt Phil Harrison’s, the head of Google Stadia, social media accounts were inundated with messages from developers asking for contacts within the launch team in an attempt to get their titles on the service. Clearly with the selection on offer means that not many have been successful.

If I was to look at this in an optimistic way, and not get too hung up the messaging, presentation and roll out compared to historical precedents like Sony and Microsoft – I would conclude that the launch of Stadia is more similar to the launch of a tech start-up. Rather than take a leaf from the pages of platform launch history and mimic the big exclusive launch titles and the midnight queues at games stores, the Stadia team seem to have looked to the start-up community for guidance. They have essentially quick launched a service with view to proof of concept, iteration and then user acquisition. 

No one launched a business unit with a view to shutting it down, so the commentators that draw some conclusion from Googles previous product launches and subsequent shutdowns – in my opinion have read this all wrong. The logic that we are seeing from the team at Stadia is that If they can get out the gates on November 19th and deliver solid proof of concept, and in doing so subdue the technical naysayers, then they can progress to a more aggressive user acquisition strategy.

I am sure that if you are part of the google team, everyone is asking you as to why you’re not aggressively advertising on your own platform (Google Ads)– but perhaps the answer is that the launch approach is more silicon valley rather than Ogilvy advertising agency approach.

The games industry community are no doubt reserving their weekend hours next week to test the new service and we are looking forward to seeing the reviews and the start of a process and hopefully, immediately or eventually deliver proof of concept on the idea of cloud based, hardware free AAA gaming.

Original Story referred to in Article: http://bit.ly/2OgDYs1