The Stadia story takes another strange turn. Google’s newly-announced Chromecast with Google TV is launching devoid of support for the company’s less-than-a-year-old Stadia cloud gaming service.
The dongle, unveiled during yesterday’s ‘Google Late Night In’ hardware launch event , arrives with no Stadia app, despite offering support for over 6,500 content-streaming apps. Google says it doesn’t to plan to integrate support until the first six-months of 2021 .
Officially, this means no support for the service, although early previewers recount successfully loading up the service using sideloading . The fact Stadia can run, albeit in a round-about, unsupported manner, frames the lack of an official app as a curious omission.
Stadia has had a tough run since launching late last year. Google’s been slow to get the service off the ground and deliver on the promise hotly touted in pre-launch marketing.
An underwhelming selection of games, a prohibitive a-la-carte game purchase model alongside subscription fees, and technical hiccups are but a sample of the criticism leveled by users and the press alike.
At launch, Stadia games were only playable through a Chromecast Ultra dongle, before the company expanded functionality to PC and Mac via Chrome and Android devices.
Bizarrely, Google now only sells the Chromecast Ultra as part of the Stadia Premiere Edition bundle, but not individually. Those looking to experience Stadia on a TV have little choice but to fork out $100 for the Premiere kit .
Omitting support on the flagship successor to a device packaged as a core part of the Stadia launch eco-system certainly implies Google doesn’t view Stadia in the same light as previously.
Such a snub, whether caused by technical hurdles as The Verge speculates or not, raises doubts about Google’s confidence in the service.
While we can’t discount unforeseen problems posing a real puzzle for Google, you’d expect one of the biggest tech firms to move mountains and allocate sufficient resources to ensure launch support.
We’re not talking a third-party service, but one Google has financial and reputational stakes in, not to say one it has its name stamped all over.
A company that has devised the most sophisticated indexing algorithm and personalized advertising empire known to man to be stumped by two-inch dongle is hard to grasp. That is, unless Google has finally given up on Stadia. Or at least, reined in its ambitions for the service considerably.