I am loving the Stadia gaming experience in general, I think Google have done wonders with the technology to give a lag free experience when playing a game on a server.
However, what dents this is the consumer experience in terms of communications, with a very low level of updates from Google, and a lack of information in the updates we get. What we want to know is that the issues we see, and the features we want, ARE being worked on. Consumer perception is everything.
Other companies tackle this using a Beta channel. This has two purposes, it gives visibility of what fixes/features are being worked on, it allows consumers to test those fixes and preview features, and it gives a great way for Google to test things in the wild without risking the stable channel. For the Chrome version of stadia this would be as simple as having a beta link at the top of the landing page, so users could easily switch between stable and beta. For the App, well the play store has beta capability built in!
What I would love to have visibility on, and would love to test, or in for the first one know if google are even working on it:
Honestly, so much of the moaning I read about Stadia is about lack of updates and communication, that should be simpler to remedy than any technical problems!
This is meant to be a positive post btw, I am a massive supporter of Stadia, and would love to see it executed even better!
@Dratster : Good grief, I can't think of anything worse than offering beta versions. Just imagine the negative feedback about beta features not working properly and all the hassle that that will cause.
Better that they roll-out new features on the fly as has been the case for those few features that have been added, but I suspect that we'll start to see more stuff over the coming months.
@Mad_Dog_Bravo I have to disagree with you there. Betas are common place, and people know what to expect from them, you expect bugs and that is the trade off for trying the latest features. As for creating hassles, any company that considers customer feedback as a hassle, well..
@Dratster : I understand your point, I'm just saying that from my own opinion I can't think of a valid practical reason to have a beta program. The thought where some new feature is available to the beta users and not to the general public will just create a nightmare. Maybe if it was performed under an NDA then perhaps it might be more practical, but it would have to be a closed beta and keep it away from the mainstream IMHO.
But I think a public beta would be more of a hindrance than a benefit. But once again that is just my opinion.
And from my own perspective, having worked in software development since the late 80's on software that has had millions of users worldwide I fully understand the benefits of beta programs.
I'd be surprised if Google didn't already have in some form a beta program in place for Stadia, but if they do then they have kept it quiet from the general public.
I agree with @Mad_Dog_Bravo . First of all, if you read the threads here, the most frequent complaints are not gameplay. They are a few threads about bugs that needed fixing, but midst of the complaints are the same. There's not enough games, there's no communication, someone bought a game and then it was offered free, or now the big thing is people comparing this service to other services when none of them are actually quite the same.
Offering a beta won't stop any of those complaints. It will in fact create more complaints as @Mad_Dog_Bravo said. Sure, it's be free, but then people will absolutely complain about the beta when they find bugs and it takes time to fix them. Remember... Google can't fix bugs, it's not Google's software. They have to get the developers to fix the bugs. It's the same as right now when Google says that the developers control when game announcements can be made, and the developers remain silent. Everyone still blames Google for that.
So all a beta creates is another platform for users to complain about things Google can't fix. I'm not saying you're wrong. This is just my opinion, and I agree with mad dog.
Also I want to add to what I said. Google's focus needs to be on the main product right now. There is a lot that needs fixing, and once they do that and the service is performing up to standard, and the developer relationships are better, and there are more games and the subscriber base is growing, then they could possibly look to include a beta program. But honestly right now a lot of Stadia is still beta. It's not complete yet and that's where the focus needs to be.
@ARGAH I think he means like running a beta program alongside the actual platform to allow people to experience what's coming, test new games and features and stuff like that. But it's just not the time for that.
My main point was that having an open Beta channel solves much of the communication complaints.
I agree they need to solve many of the technology issues, but having the best technology does not mean you are guaranteed to win, look at Betamax v VHS, look at Sony's digital walkman which had by far the best sound quality yet it lost to the Apple iPod which had a so so sound quality but a great user experience. User experience is king, and that sits at so many levels.
My big fear is that Stadia won't catch the imagination of the target audience, sales will stagnate and Google will let it fade away, this has happened many times with Google before. This, in my opinion, would be a huge shame.