Once bitten, twice shy. It’s a saying that Google would do well to keep in mind when it is planning its next product launch. There are only so many times that consumers will get on board with a new product or service if you keep killing them off a couple of years later.
Cloud gaming service Stadia was the latest to be axed, bringing to an end three years of Google’s attempt to revolutionise the gaming market.
While it may have launched with big expectations, Stadia failed to measure up. Last week, the company brought down the axe on the gaming project, with lots of platitudes about how what it had learned from Stadia would be applied elsewhere in the business.
It didn’t come as a massive surprise to the gaming industry. Truth be told, some had mused about the longevity of such a project, given Google’s history of killing off projects.
Google’s own games development studio for Stadia was shut down in February last year, with the service said to be concentrating on supporting third party developers.
It seems at least some of those developers were caught on the hop by Google’s announcement. Ubisoft announced it was seeking ways to make its Stadia games available on PCs.
Google, to its credit, is refunding the money players spent on hardware – but only for purchases made through the Google Store.
Ditto for games bought on Stadia, although anyone who feels entitled to a refund for the monthly Pro subscription might be a long time waiting.
Come mid- January when the platform shuts down completely, any games you’ve been playing will no longer be accessible.
Stadia joins Google Plus, Orkut, Google Reader, Loon, Allo and others that Google has tried and found wanting, leaving disgruntled users in its wake.
That’s not to say that companies should feel obliged to keep flogging a dead horse long after it has become obvious the project is going nowhere. Companies don’t become the size of Google without taking chances, too.
But don’t be surprised if consumers are less than enthusiastic about your whatever the next great project that Google has in the works.