When Google shut down its underperforming game streaming service Stadia, the company announced a plan to keep the underlying technology alive in the form of “Immersive Stream for Games,” which it licensed 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 technology 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 company).
In the midst of promoting a suite of tools Google Cloud offers game publishers (opens in a new tab) to support their live service game, reporter Stephen Totilo mentioned that Stadia technology is no longer available for licensing (opens in a new tab).
“We don’t offer that streaming option,” Jack Buser, director of gaming industry solutions at Google Cloud, told Totilo, “because it was tied to Stadia itself. So, unfortunately, when we decided not to move forward with Stadia, it kind of of [business-to-business] offer could no longer be offered as well.”
What Google is currently pushing to remind everyone that they are committed to being part of the gaming industry now is a platform called Agones, which was developed in partnership with Ubisoft. Agones was showcased at the 2019 Game Developers Conference (opens in a new tab), and combines game servers, engine integration and a suite of metrics and player monitoring tools. In addition to Ubisoft, it’s apparently being used by Yager, Niantic, Unity and other companies looking to get into live-service multiplayer gaming.
Jack Buser, who was previously the director of games at Stadia before taking his current position at Google Cloud, was quoted as saying, “It was at the moment when we basically had to make decisions about Stadia that we realized that on Google Cloud, we is at our best when we’re helping other people build these things, not necessarily building it ourselves.”
Even though games like Knockout City, Rumbleverse and Ubisoft’s Hyperscape have had to shut down at most a couple of years after launch and Square Enix announced that Marvel’s Avengers will not be supported in September, publishers seem determined to happily continue to chase the service-game sauce train. Assassin’s Creed Infinity is reportedly turning the series into a live-action game spanning multiple historical settings, Blood Bowl 3 has seasonal updates and a battle pass, and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks set to be a loot-shooter with gear points and cosmetics which is obtained via, yes, a battle pass.