Utomik is, essentially, exactly what Google, Apple, Amazon, and Walmart are attempting to do with their new game streaming services. Utomik allows subscribers to stream over 900 games to their personal computer for a monthly fee. While the Utomik service never took off the way that Netflix or Hulu did, the service has been on the scene for a few years now, just without the major press that the Stadia has garnered this year.
So naturally, there's a bit of a rivalry there, and Utomik's Growth Director Patrick Weekers had quite a bit to say about yesterday's Stadia reveals.
Weekers issued a lengthy statement that included some harsh criticisms of Google's product, alleging that the Stadia is "unfinished" and "too complex" for consumers (emphasis theirs):
Google Stadia is unfinished. The company is clearly under immense pressure to become 'the Netflix for games' and opted to issue an incomplete product. The fact that vital parts of their propositions are coming "in 2020" is proof of this.
Using half measures, like a Chromecast and limiting the service to Pixel phones, will cause a lot of people to miss out. Can we assume that the goal of Stadia is to sell Chromecasts and Pixel phones? Google have shown they want to promote their own hardware at the cost of losing customers.
The proposition is too complex and will confuse consumers.
Stadia Pro is 'Playstation Plus' with free games periodically added, rather than a 'Netflix for games' model. Asking gamers to pay to test an ambiguous proposition could erode trust, not just in Stadia, but in subscription gaming as a whole.
This is simply not the Netflix of games.
This is more akin to a console launch that focuses largely on 'core' gamers. This means that to develop or port games to Stadia is both difficult and unattractive for publishers, no matter how much money they have.
At this stage, the only game confirmed as part of the 'Stadia Pro' offering is Destiny 2: The Collection. You'll need to subscribe, and still pay for all the games individually on Stadia.
This is a home console model, not of a subscription service.
Stadia have so far display itself as the latest and greatest in subscription gaming and streaming. Today we saw that Google is launching a console, and a vague one at that. At Utomik, we are clear and concise with what you will get when you subscribe to us, by design. We do this to avoid breaking consumer trust and creating confusion. We hope Stadia won't undermine this work or subscription gaming as a whole.
Perhaps the best criticism in Weekers' statement is that the Stadia system appears to be a hybrid system that's both a digital console and a streaming service. The 'Stadia Pro' is, well, almost exactly like PlayStation Plus or Xbox Games with Gold.
However, even Netflix has a premium subscription model and the option to download movies and shows to your tablet or phone.
So the "Netflix" comparison isn't entirely inaccurate. It's truer to say that the Stadia isn't a pure streaming service. Whether that's what gamers want or not, well, we'll find out in November.
The hardware concerns are also a bit problematic, but of course Google would prioritize their own hardware over a full Android launch.