▼ Google Stadia should have stayed in beta

I have been playing a lot of Stadia lately. Not because I think Google's game streaming service is amazing, but because in order to get anything out of Assassin's Creed Odyssey (about which I have many thoughts) you have to play a lot. It's a long game.

I'll put down a few more points about my experiences with Stadia — and how it's the worst gaming launch since the Xbox One and maybe before that, after the links.

- Dieter

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Google Stadia should have stayed in beta

I have put in enough hours in enough conditions to say that this is a beta product and Google should have labeled it as such and launched it differently. Because even in the best conditions, this ain't the best. I have what I think is probably the most ideal connection imaginable: Google Fiber (technically WebPass) in Oakland, 500 up and down with very low latency. And I still get weird internet lag jitters sometimes. Woof.

Woof but also, shrug? I find that by and large it works well enough for me and I really do love that I can play it on many different devices (including a Surface Go!). The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that as with the Xbox One, the biggest problem is simply the size of the library.

So while I'm happy that Google Stadia finally keeps a promise with three new games and its first exclusive feature, I think it's way too little — though not necessarily too late. If Google can do even half of what Nintendo achieved in terms of growing the Switch library, it has half a chance.

All the Games Of The Year lists are coming out (here's ours) and I can't tell you how many times I've thought "Huh I might want that on Stadia rather than PlayStation" and realized that, haha no, Stadia is still a beta product with a beta product-sized library.

Google has thus far failed to ship a hunk of plastic that helps you attach your phone to a controller. A thing that should have been packed in with the original controller, a thing that costs $15 for some reason, a thing that it nothing more than molded plastic and a spring. So, you know, execution still not this division's strong suit. That's also in beta.

Thing is, Google has asked for and received Real Money from people, so treating Stadia like a beta isn't just embarrassing, it's irresponsible. Google should have tried an entirely different way of launching this service. Call it a beta for real, make it an invite system to have it seem more exclusive, and don't charge money for it until it's out of beta.

Hindsight is 20/20 (or maybe it's 4K with low latency), though. All we can hope for now is that Google will fix it quickly. Maybe by the time I get through Assassin's Creed, it will be better. That's probably too long to wait, though.

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