Skip to main content

Google Stadia has reportedly been demoted, but it might show up in your Peloton

Google Stadia has reportedly been demoted, but it might show up in your Peloton


Or let you try free game demos in your web browser

Share this story

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

One year after Google revealed it now saw Google Stadia cloud gaming idea as a mere “technology platform for industry partners” rather than a true rival to Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, Business Insider is reporting that some Stadia gamers’ fears have come true: the entire Stadia project has been demoted within Google, and its new priority is to power experiences from companies including Peloton, Bungie, and Capcom rather than attracting more games to Stadia itself.

In fact, Peloton bike owners might have already experienced the fruits of those labors — BI reports that Peloton’s very first video game, Lanebreak, was actually powered by Google’s cloud gaming technology, now dubbed Google Stream. (That’s one way to put a game inside your exercise machine!)

But if you were hoping that Google Stadia’s own cloud gaming platform would pull itself out of its current precarious situation (where only Ubisoft is continuing to contribute its latest and greatest games), BI’s sources suggest that’s not likely:

Current and former employees said the priority was now on proof-of-concept work for Google Stream and securing white-label deals. One estimated about 20% of the focus was on the consumer platform.

“There are plenty of people internally who would love to keep it going, so they are working really hard to make sure it doesn’t die,” they said. “But they’re not the ones writing the checks.”

Two sources told BI that Google Stadia boss Phil Harrison now reports to Jason Rosenthal, Google’s vice president of subscription services, instead of directly to Google hardware boss Rick Osterloh. That’s a demotion for the entire Stadia division, though that’s perhaps not too much of a surprise: Stadia wasn’t meeting Google’s internal expectations, drastically missing sales targets, despite paying tens of millions of dollars per game just to secure ports for the platform, according to reports last year.

Peloton isn’t the only company that’s been quietly using Google Stadia as a white-label service: AT&T confirmed that its free browser-based access to Batman: Arkham Knight last October ran on Stadia tech. Capcom is in talks to do the same with web-based demos of its games, too, according to the new report. And Destiny developer Bungie, which Sony is currently buying for $3.6 billion, was looking to build its own streaming platform on top of Google Stream, according to BI.

White-labeling isn’t necessarily a bad fate for Google Stadia, as I wrote a year ago. But it’s a reason to think twice about buying a game on Google Stadia’s consumer cloud gaming platform when it’s ever clearer that Google’s heart isn’t in that part of the business. At least, not until some of the hard questions get answered.

Google spokesperson Patrick Seybold provided us with this statement on the matter:

We announced our intentions of helping publishers and partners deliver games directly to gamers last year, and have been working toward that.  The first manifestation has been our partnership with AT&T who is offering Batman: Arkham Knight available to their customers for free.  While we won’t be commenting on any rumors or speculation regarding other industry partners, we are still focused on bringing great games to Stadia in 2022. With 200+ titles currently available, we expect to have another 100+ games added to the platform this year, and currently have 50 games available to claim in Stadia Pro.

Later in the day, Google also subtweeted the report:

Peloton wouldn’t comment to The Verge.

Update, 8:14PM ET: Added Google’s new tweet.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago Midjourneys

Alex CranzTwo hours ago
After DART smashed into Dimorphos, I can’t stop thinking about the best “blow up an asteroid” story.

LucasArts and Steven Spielberg came up with The Dig, a game about an astronaut, scientist, and journalist blowing up an asteroid and finding a spaceship inside, and they did it years before Bruce Willis, or NASA. You can still buy and play it on Steam!

Richard LawlerTwo hours ago
Everything looks better in slow motion.

Apple’s Dynamic Island alert system isn’t sitting still around your iPhone 14’s front-facing camera array. We’ve been enjoying its contextual animations — and even an Android copycat — since it was unveiled, but take a look at it here, captured at 240fps, to see exactly how iOS applies animations that make it feel a bit more lively.

Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther WangSep 26
External Link
Russell Brandom5:47 PM UTC
Oracle will pay $23 million to settle foreign bribery charges.

The SEC alleges that Oracle used a slush fund to bribe officials in India, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

This behavior is sadly common among software companies doing business overseas, and it’s not unique to Oracle. In March, a former Microsoft executive claimed the company spent as much as $200 million a year in bribes for foreign officials.

External Link
Emma Roth3:16 PM UTC
Celsius’ CEO is out.

Alex Mashinsky, the head of the bankrupt crypto lending firm Celsius, announced his resignation today, but not after patting himself on the back for working “tirelessly to help the company.”

In Mashinsky’s eyes, I guess that means designing “Unbankrupt yourself” t-shirts on Cafepress and then selling them to a user base that just had their funds vaporized.

At least customers of the embattled Voyager Digital crypto firm are in slightly better shape, as the Sam Bankman-Fried-owned FTX just bought out the company’s assets.

Mary Beth Griggs2:46 PM UTC
NASA’s SLS rocket is secure as Hurricane Ian barrels towards Florida.

The rocket — and the Orion spacecraft on top — are now back inside the massive Vehicle Assembly Building. Facing menacing forecasts, NASA decided to roll it away from the launchpad yesterday.

External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins1:30 PM UTC
Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand is about to go public via SPAC

LiveWire has completed its merger with a blank-check company and will make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange today. Harley-Davison CEO Jochen Zeitz called it “a proud and exciting milestone for LiveWire towards its ambition to become the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world.” Hopefully it also manages to avoid the cash crunch of other EV SPACs, like Canoo, Arrival, Faraday Future, and Lordstown.

The Verge
Andrew Webster1:06 PM UTC
“There’s an endless array of drama going on surrounding Twitch right now.”

That’s Ryan Morrison, CEO of Evolved Talent Agency, which represents some of the biggest streamers around. And he’s right — as you can read in this investigation from my colleague Ash Parrish, who looked into just what’s going on with Amazon’s livestreaming service.

The Verge
Richard Lawler12:59 PM UTC
Green light.

NASA’s spacecraft crashed, and everyone is very happy about it.

Otherwise, Mitchell Clark is kicking off the day with a deeper look at Dish Network’s definitely-real 5G wireless service , and Walmart’s metaverse vision in Roblox is not looking good at all.

External Link
Jess Weatherbed11:49 AM UTC
Won’t anyone think of the billionaires?

Forbes reports that rising inflation and falling stock prices have collectively cost members of the Forbes 400 US rich list $500 billion in 2022 with tech tycoons suffering the biggest losses.

Jeff Bezos (worth $151 billion) lost $50 billion, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin (worth a collective $182b) lost almost $60b, Mark Zuckerberg (worth $57.7b) lost $76.8b, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (worth $4.5b) lost $10.4b. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (worth $83b) lost $13.5b while his ex-boss Bill Gates (worth $106b) lost $28b, albeit $20b of that via charity donations.