Google Stadia Overpromised On What It Could Do, Says Take-Two CEO

Strauss Zelnick says the promise of Stadia was an expanded market, but that it fell short of the ambition.

46 Comments

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says that Google Stadia overpromised on its technology, and didn't seem to expand the market like it had hoped. In a talk at the Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, Zelnick explained why the company had supported the release of streaming, and he doesn't sound positive on the platform so far.

"Streaming technology is upon us," he said. "The launch of Stadia has been slow. I think there was some overpromising on what the technology could deliver and some consumer disappointment as a result."

Most of his comments, though, were focused on the business aspect. Zelnick was critical on that point as well, appearing to suggest that it doesn't have immediate plans for Stadia and stressing that it wasn't the "game-changer" it was made out to be.

"Anytime you broaden distribution you potentially broaden your audience, which is why we supported the release of Stadia with three titles initially and will continue to support high-quality streaming services as long as the business model makes sense. Over time I believe streaming will work... The belief that streaming was going to be transformative was based on a view that there were loads of people who really had an interest in interactive entertainment, really wanted to pay for it, but just didn't want to have a console. I'm not sure that turned out to be the case."

He also emphasized that subscription models and streaming are two different things that don't necessarily connect--you can have a subscription model without streaming, as in Game Pass, or streaming without a subscription, like Stadia. In the past, Zelnick has been bullish on streaming and skeptical of subscriptions.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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Edited By PrpleTrtleBuBum

why are these things so complicated? i found netflix by hearing from the site, seeing theres a free month and i just started to watch movies with whatever device i had

when i look at the game passes and etc its... get a spesific controller or other device, pay per game etc. big issue that netfliz originally didnt face was market competition. now all services suffer from contents being spread all over and even netflix would now be a lot less interesting to me as a newcomer. game pass is the best but even the pc version of that has some obstacles and hassle like listing games that are only on xbox, forcing me to count and consider how much i actually get in terms of pc

stadia would have been amazing 20 years ago but now it cant compete with netflix. even if we disregard the internet bandwith/importance of movie lag vs game lag topic

the actual netflix of games = independent company that has a list consisting of thousands of games from atari to nes to ps2 to switch. supports whatever controller, joystick or steering wheel i have in hand (ok maybe not somethint like power glove but at least the generic brands everyone has lying around) and pay just for subscription. and working on browser. even if my internet sucked im pretty sure lot of retro games would work fine so even if battlefront experience sucked i could get moneys worth playing oregon trail or final fantasy 7 or turtles in time

also 1 thing that came to mind that watchijg a movie is fastfood experience. i saw the movie and even if it gets dropped out i literallu lost nothinf. but especially with epic games like skyrim and destiny i could spend 1000 hours and losing that hurts, even if i can download saves and use in thr game i actually purchased. so maybe streaming should focus to games that you can complete in 4 hours and forget

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lonewolf1044

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There are an number of reasons the Stadia for me failed because of the Games issues as some people do not want to lose access to games that they paid for regardless of "It is not yours to own" issues because for me how are you going to get me to invest in an device that is useless once it goes down for the count. So I will not spend my money on such an device to avoid those issues. The ISP issues is an two part part problem as it involves Comcast, Century Link, etc which controls the bandwidth.

If one lives in an rural area that have no Broadband or Broadband is low bandwith I would not even think about buying this device. Using Comcast as an example and also my ISP used to offer internet with unlimited data but they got smart and figured why give people unlimited data w/o charging more and they now have three to four tiers which cost more the higher the tier and I also have an quota now but Comcast went an little bit further to make money by offering an option to DL all you want if one pays $50 more even if you stay below your quota and this is optional of course so pay $50 more because I have multiple systems and I do DL quite an bit. I rather pay the additional fee than go over my quota which cost way more. Stadia really does not do it for me.

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Terrorantula

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No one bought into their lies before it even launched, how can they make streaming good without revolutionising the internet? The limits are not limits Google can fix without making an ISP themselves and spending trillions building it.

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SbargoVox3

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Edited By SbargoVox3

No shit.

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Sepewrath

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Yeah I don't know who was buying what Google was selling with Stadia.

2 • 
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lloydknight

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Ahhhhhh! The inevitable fall of a streaming gaming platform. This was bound to happen.

To add,

I like to have my games on a disc with a beautiful box art and actually own what I paid for instead of an account that's subscribed to a library of games for streaming that I do not technically own.

Goodbye Stadia, you will not be missed.

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Thanatos2k

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Streaming passive entertainment - sure.

Streaming interactive games - fail!

We all knew Google was full of it. These companies can't have been so dumb as to believe them too.

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Carpetfluff

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On the one hand I hate having to agree with such a corporate butt nugget but on the other hand; yes.

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Acidic__Thought

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Something something, negative latency.

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R4gn4r0k

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Reads like a post mortum

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letsgame82

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Another one bites the dust lol Stadia is ok for casual gamers but you can’t be a traditional console that doesn’t rely on the internet to play games. Can’t wait to get my hands on real consoles in a few months

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EdwardNygma

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Stadia is a joke. Anyone who thought this was going to takeoff should have thought about the actual internet connection infrastructure right now across the world.

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Cashmoney007

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It always made me laugh that some people kept defending the Stadia. They don't understand that better options are available for gaming.

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aross2004

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Someone should hogtie Zelnick with fiber optic cable and smash his dong with a Stadia controller.

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SkyHighGam3r

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"The belief that streaming was going to be transformative was based on a view that there were loads of people who really had an interest in interactive entertainment, really wanted to pay for it, but just didn't want to have a console. I'm not sure that turned out to be the case."

Where in god's name did they get this impression in the first place? Who is out there like, "Gee I sure love video games, but I can't stand having a console hooked up to my TV and/or a PC in my home."

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Thanatos2k

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@skyhighgam3r: "I know! I'll pay full price for games that I don't get to own, to play over the internet for some reason!"

Did they think these people really existed!?

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GirlUSoCrazy

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@skyhighgam3r: The promise to me seemed more like you could take your game to any screen, but they can't even do that. Stadia isn't even supported on all mobile phones. It seems like they're having difficulty with the basic task of displaying a game.

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SkyHighGam3r

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@girlusocrazy: Yeah they really didn't make it clear that the majority of stuff they were talking about were "far off improvements" to the platform. My biggest issue is the pricing model though. If I'm 'streaming' something in, I want a subscription. If I'm buying a game, I should be able to download it. I'll never feel otherwise on that point.

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Jarrkha

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@skyhighgam3r: Poor people in "god's name", I guess, which is amusing since in Canada we're stiffed by Americans for good internet/mobile speeds.

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SkyHighGam3r

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@Jarrkha: The term was "want" though, not "can afford". Even if it was though, I don't see this magical demographic where people can afford high-speed internet, but not a home console. A couple hundred bucks every several years is nothing compared to the 1,200 bucks a year for high-speed.

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EdwardNygma

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@skyhighgam3r: They are morons.

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Jarrkha

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@edwardnygma: whole lot of morons abound in this industry, not just them.

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EdwardNygma

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@Jarrkha: True.

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BtotheOtotheJtotheF

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lol

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NeverMore0

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I am shocked. SHOCKED.

Well, not that shocked.

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lion2447

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My biggest problem with the service is simply having to pay full price for a game you really don't own. You can't even download the data to play offline. If the service is cancelled, all your games go with it.

Google is also a company that likes to experiment and also likes to cancel a lot of its experiments. I am happy for them to try new things, but I'm not paying money to be a beta tester in a concept not yet proven.

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moonwatcher99

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@lion2447: This, right here. Now, I don't even really like digital games, I prefer hard copy unless the prices are equal, (Like Nintendo a lot of the time), but as long as the digital copy can be played offline I'm fine with it. There's no guarantee Stadia won't just disappear with your whole library, plus if your internet goes down (and that does still happen, it's not impossible) you can't play until it's back up.

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Jarrkha

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@lion2447: Buying a game through Stadia means you don't own it? Or cannot play it if Stadia goes kaput? But isn't that the same argument for all digital platforms?

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@Jarrkha: Steam has publicly said in the past if they were to ever go down for good they'd unlock the Steam DRM on the games you've downloaded so you could play them locally. Stadia refused to make such a promise, and it's not even possible with the way it's set up.

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lion2447

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@Jarrkha: Not completely. Console games can continue to be played if you have the discs. Though digital downloads would be lost if you don't have the download, they can still be played if you have previously downloaded it.

The Silent Hill P.T. demo is a good example. Although you cannot download or play it any longer, anyone who has previously downloaded it can still play it. Stadia always having full control including hosting the files remotely means everyone would lose access to the the demo in this instance.

Going back to Google, this is a company with a seemingly bottomless money pit. I don't see them axing the service anytime soon. But, they are competing against services like Sony and Microsoft who allow you to pay a monthly subscription, which in turn gives online access, discounts on games, and monthly free games all for the cost of approx. one full priced game.

I would say the service is still in the experimental stages and can still be turned around, but the competition for Google in this space is high. People only have so much time in a day.

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Gaming-Planet

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Edited By Gaming-Planet

Google has yet to install fiber in my area, let alone any other internet service provider.

Fiber is only available for wealthy areas it seems and that's their core audience when it comes to video game streaming. You think wealthy people would rather stream their games or get in physical? I think the latter is more true. Also, gamers don't care to stream their games. Who wants a lesser quality in their gaming experience?

I'm glad it failed. It would have become predatory in the end.

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Jarrkha

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@Gaming-Planet: Sadly, so true. Everything becomes bastardized or predatory in the end -- failing that, then taken for granted and proliferated into oblivion. One needs only to look around at this pandemic crisis to understand how the economy and our lives chug along with little regard to sustainability or provisions for emergency situations.

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HesamB

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@Gaming-Planet: It failed? it hasn't even started yet

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so_hai

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That was self evident the moment they announced it. They were hoping to bluff their way past. If I was a shareholder, I'd feel really embarrassed.

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EdwardNygma

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@so_hai: Ditto.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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Anyone who knew anything about tech knew they were overpromising.

Other game streaming platforms were more honest about their product. Terms like "negative latency" were obvious marketing guff & most people saw straight through it.

The biggest failure was the value they offer. Buying games at full price that you can only play on a service which may not even exist in a few years time is a hard ask. Stadia deserves to fail, but hopefully other services will push this technology forward with more consumer-friendly practices. I'm a PC guy & I like owning my own hardware, but I'm open to a future of streaming games if & when the technology is advanced enough.

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StreetShark

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Edited By StreetShark

I love how it’s taking industry experts until just now to figure this out, or at least just now to admit it, when just about every gamer knew this was going to be dead-on-arrival. Also, it’s funny how they say Google “over promised” instead of saying, “they lied.” 9 out of 10 comments leading up to the launch of Stadia were saying how quickly this was going to fail. I’ve been saying I give it maybe 2-3 years, at most, until Google stops supporting it. We’re still at least 5-10 years away from game streaming becoming a real competitor. I thought it was hilarious when Microsoft said that they only viewed Amazon and Google as their competition this next generation.

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Thanatos2k

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@streetshark: They're hesitant to say it because all these sleazy companies WANT streaming to succeed - it's another level of control they'll have over preventing people from owning and reselling their games.

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BarcaAzul

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I think it’s the emperors new clothes.

It will be dead in a year or so

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gamingdevil800

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classic google.

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hardwenzen

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Stadia is worse than 2013 Xbone. Let that sink in for a minute.

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silv3rst0rm

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At first I tought / wished Stadia would've been the "Netflix of games".
I tought it would be a much higher monthly fee but it would allow you to play the games you wanted without requiring any hardware, any initial fees and any game purchases.

Had they decided to do so I might have jumped in!
I mostly play offline stuff and nothing that requires a lightning fast response, I'm pretty sure lag or response time wouldn't have been an issue for me.
(No FPS shooters, no competitive games...)

If I was able to pay let's say 40$ a month that would prevent me from buying gaming hardware and 60$ games on a regular basis, I might've opted in!

But now seeing that I have to pay monthly fees and still buy full price games, I don't see anything there attractive to me...

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GirlUSoCrazy

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@silv3rst0rm: I didn't really want it for any reason except to demo a game quick that I would then purchase on a platform where I could play locally.

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Barighm

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@girlusocrazy: Same. That's how I'm using Game Pass.

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Jarrkha

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@girlusocrazy: yup, then I wouldn't have to bother with pretentious reviews anymore.

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Dezuria

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Random internet people realized this before gaming company CEOs did.

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