In context: Stadia isn't the end-all, be-all game streaming platform Google hoped it would be, but, like most tech products these days, a rough start does not necessarily mean the entire platform is doomed. Stadia continues to improve slowly and is set to get many new features and dozens of new games (including a few exclusives) this year. Before that happens, though, Google is focusing on enlarging the platform's userbase.
New reports claim Google will be bringing Stadia to a wide array of new smartphones on February 20, instead of keeping the platform exclusive to its Pixel device family. That's a smart decision, and probably one Google should have made upon launch. Stadia has a variety of issues, but limited mobile availability is one of the bigger ones -- if people can't even access the platform on a device of their choice, they're much less likely to buy in.
The new set of Stadia-ready phones will be mostly Samsung Galaxy devices. Indeed, out of 18 soon-to-be-supported smartphones, a total of 14 are Galaxies -- the S8 or newer (including the S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra). The remaining four devices are all "gaming phones": the ROG Phone 1 & 2, and the Razer Phone 1 & 2, specifically.
For the sake of comparison (and as Engadget notes), Microsoft's in-dev xCloud game streaming service already supports all Android devices capable of running version 6.0 (or newer) of the mobile OS. That's a massive difference compared to Stadia's small list of compatible devices, and it's difficult to understand why Google is moving so much more slowly. One might think that Google's position in the Android market would give it an edge in bringing Stadia to a larger pool of gadgets, but it seems that's not the case for now.
If you haven't bought into the Stadia universe yet, we don't think you're missing much. Long promised features like 4K desktop support and Google Assistant functionality are still missing from the platform (though they should arrive soon), and its full game list is quite small at the moment.
We hope, for the sake of those who have signed up for Stadia, that the service gets better soon. If you're one of the platform's early adopters, feel free to leave your thoughts, criticisms, or experiences (positive or negative) in the comments below.
Middle image credit: TechMalak