When Google shut down underperforming game-streaming service Stadia, the company announced a plan to keep the tech underlying it alive in the form of “Immersive Stream for Games”, which it licenced out so other companies could let their customers play games online. One high-profile result was Resident Evil Village’s demo you could play in a browser, but the same tech was behind AT&T letting subscribers play Batman: Arkham Knight and fitness-bike maker Peloton launching a game called Lanebreak (turns out, virtual cycling games are big business).
In the midst of promoting a bundle of tools Google Cloud offers game publishers to support their live service games, reporter Stephen Totilo mentioned that the Stadia tech is no longer available to license.
“We are not offering that streaming option,” Jack Buser, director of game industry solutions at Google Cloud, told Totilo, “because it was tied to Stadia itself. So, unfortunately, when we decided to not move forward with Stadia, that sort of [business-to-business] offering could no longer be offered as well.”
What Google’s currently pushing to remind everyone it’s committed to being part of the games industry now is a platform called Agones, which was developed in conjunction with Ubisoft. Agones was showcased at the Game Developer’s Conference in 2019, and combines game servers, engine integration, and a suite of metrics and player-monitoring tools. As well as Ubisoft it’s apparently being used by Yager, Niantic, Unity, and other companies looking to get into live service multiplayer games.
Jack Buser, who was formerly the director for games at Stadia before taking his current position at Google Cloud, was quoted as saying, “It was at that moment when we basically had to make decisions about Stadia that we realized that, at Google Cloud, we are at our best when we’re helping other people build this stuff, not necessarily building it ourselves.”
Even as games like Knockout City, Rumbleverse, and Ubisoft’s Hyperscape have had to shut down at most a couple of years after launching and Square Enix announced that Marvel’s Avengers won’t be supported past September, publishers seem determined to blithely continue chasing the service-game gravy train. Assassin’s Creed Infinity will reportedly be turning the series into a live service game that spans multiple historical settings, Blood Bowl 3 has seasonal updates and a battle pass, and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks like it’ll be a looter-shooter with gear scores and cosmetics that are earned via, yes, a battle pass.
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