When Google announced last year that it would be shutting down Stadia because the cloud gaming service hadn’t “gained enough traction,” it wasn’t entirely clear how the platform performed against competitors like Nvidia’s GeForce Now and Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming. Now, statistics shared by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) show that Stadia had a significantly smaller presence than competing services, with an estimated zero to five percent share of the cloud gaming market by 2022 (through 9to5Google).
The CMA said its findings are based on global information provided directly by each company. The charts don’t include actual numbers, and Google has been tight-lipped about the number of Stadia subscribers Actually had. However, Insider reports that the service had about 750,000 monthly active users in 2020, which was not the 1 million target for that year. The CMA’s findings indicate that in 2021, after launching in 2019, Stadia held only a 5 to 10 percent share of the cloud gaming market and was already dominated by Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now, and PlayStation Cloud before losing ground in 2022 .
The CMA study was conducted as part of the regulator’s investigation into Microsoft’s intent to acquire Activision Blizzard. During his report preliminary findings, the CMA claims the merger could prevent other platforms from offering a competitive game library if Microsoft made franchises exclusive to its Xbox Cloud Gaming service and suggests Stadia’s lack of content contributed to its demise. “We tentatively believe that content is particularly important to the success of a cloud gaming service,” the report reads. “Especially given Google’s failure with Stadia, which our evidence suggests was caused at least in part by a lack of game content, which was related to using a Linux operating system.”
The CMA claims that Microsoft Xbox Cloud Gaming will control between 60 and 70 percent of the cloud gaming market by 2022, but that should be taken with a grain of salt. There are a lot of asterisks around that number, which the CMA spends two full pages on. For example, the game streaming services from Microsoft and Sony are available as part of larger packages, such as Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Plus Premium. Users accessing streaming services through these packages may not be using them, as they are seen as a free add-on, yet were counted towards each company’s market share by the CMA.
The study may not accurately reflect the true market share as some companies bundle their cloud gaming services with other products
The regulator also says it likely overestimated Sony’s market share in 2021 and 2022 by double-counting a number of people who had used the game streaming and subscribed to both PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. It’s also difficult to compare the numbers accurately because the data was collected at different times – Xbox Cloud Gaming’s numbers are taken between January and September 2022, while GeForce Now only provides data for January, for example.
Nevertheless, it is clear that Microsoft, Sony and Nvidia dominate the cloud gaming services market, with Google taking the rest home.
Amazon Luna also reportedly held between zero and 5 percent of the cloud gaming market as of September 2022 after launching in March 2022. The service has made efforts to attract new users to the platform with free trials, but has limited reach, as it is currently still limited to US customers. If Stadia’s shutdown is anything to go by, Amazon may have its work cut out to prevent Luna from sharing the same fate.