Google has announced recently that it will be shutting down its game studio branch of stadia. While this news is sudden, it’s not shocking. Google has a long history of killing off products that for one reason or another were not deemed a success. In fact, there’s an entire site dedicated to it. But this recent move really highlights an issue with how Google approaches new industries (and problems). How so?
Google stadia is, for all intents and purposes, a cloud console. It allows a person to stream games to different screens to play with nothing more than a controller and the google stadia app (don’t forget a good internet connection!). They have been solved an issue that has thwarted many streaming services of the past, namely network latency. Often games require split-second movements, so the seconds (or even milliseconds) lag can cause games that need precise action (FPS, racing, etc.) to be unplayable.So, a console that can be played on any screen, that's a fraction of the cost of a gaming PC or physical console should be an instant success, right? Not exactly. Click To Tweet While the hardware is impressive, the projected lacked a real focus on a very important factor or a game streaming service. GAMES!
Google Stadia Missing Games
Compared to competing services, google stadia’s library comes up short. Having so few games that they didn’t even bother to add a search bar to their game list. Not only do they small selection but the actual games offered lack the wide breadth of appeal that others do. A quick scroll through the list and you’ll see a mix of a couple of AAA games, lesser-known indie games (Cthulhu Saves Christmas?), and games that are well over 7 years old (looking at you hitman and watchdogs).
Missing from this hodgepodge of games are more known indie games that have sold millions (Dead cells, Shovel Knight, Hollow Knight) that helped other streaming services build out the library as well as games that already have a huge following ( Fortnight, Minecraft, Among Us), games that you can play on virtually any platform but google stadia. If you are trying to get buy-in from users, you should focus on the things that attract them: games.
Google shutting down their game studio is just another step away from the core of what gets people to choose a platform. Their lack of exclusive games, something that leads to the success of consoles before them (like halo did for the Xbox), makes them even more replaceable in the many options that consumers have to choose from.
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The Point And How It Relates To Google Stadia
Okay but with all that said what really is the issue? Like with many projects before google suffers from a look at stadia from a limited perspective. To Google, this was a hardware problem. They figured if they could provide a service conveniently and reliably to many people, something they are very familiar with through search results and videos from YouTube, that both users and studios would flock to their platform. They got so caught up with what they can do that they failed to correctly direct their efforts. After all what good is being able to stream 4K if you don’t have the games you want to play?
They say that If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail. A part of the reason for the limited perspective is the lack of understanding of adjacent industries. In building a console, they didn’t understand enough about the studios who bring life to them. Why should a game studio take the risk of building their game for your platform with limited users? What incentives can you offer to mitigate the risk that they are taking on? Apparently not good ones.
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Lessons to be learned
Many times, when people ask me what I do, I say “I work in digital marketing” or “I’m a digital marketer” and although not my official title I think it’s essential to make that differentiation, especially for myself. It reminds me web design or SEO are tools that I use to accomplish a goal, not the goal itself. So sometimes I may have to take off my “SEO” hat and look at the issue from a different perspective, to make sure I’m not trying to use a hammer on a screw. You could get your client ranking first for all their core keywords, get 100,000 positions and millions of impressions, but what good is that if it doesn’t get them the sales they want? Maybe a different medium may fit their needs better like a PPC campaign or a focus on social advertising.
Imagine for a moment you are an SEO expert that is working for an eCommerce company. The company regularly gets 100,000 organic visitors that result in 100 sales every month. Your client would like to double their normal sales. As an SEO expert, your first reaction might be I need to double their organic traffic! More content! More positions! More on-page SEO!
But if you take some time and look at it from another perspective you might see your problem can be better solved with a different “tool”. At 100 sales per 100,000 visits, your conversion rate is 0.1%, something you realize is quite low compared to others in your space. After looking at the traffic further you see that 90% of your traffic goes to the same 10 pages. Looking at those pages reveals improvements that can be made that, after A/B testing, confirms would 10X purchases but would actually make you drop in rankings by more than half (yikes!). Hmm….let’s do the math.
- option 1: 200,000 visits X 0.1% conversion rate = 200 sales
- option 2: 50,000 visits X 1% conversion rate = 500 sales
By looking at it differently not only could you accomplish the goal, but exceeded it. By using adjacent knowledge sets you can evaluate problems using a different lens to narrow down on opportunities for improvement. Things that you may have missed looking at with a limited perspective.
Thankfully for Google, they have a large reserve of cash and an army of engineers to throw at their problems. It makes trying things, like google stadia, until they stick a lot easier. More than likely though you don’t have that luxury, taking the time to widen your understanding of adjacent fields and making sure you are focused on the real goal (the sales) and not the tool (SEO, PPC, etc.) can mean the difference in success and failure with a client. Even if it’s not the job you were hired to do, focusing on the true aim of the service and having the means to achieve it will make you indispensable to your customers. So don’t be afraid to flip that problem around and get a different look.
Perspective can be a hard thing to have on your own product. Sometimes it can be smart to have help from an outside source. You should consider using our white label services for your digital marketing needs. And feel free to let us know what you think of this article and if this has helped you in any way.