Google Stadia has had a rough launch. The new game-streaming service has been live for about a week now, and the best thing we can say is that it works – but just barely. The service is barebones right now, missing not only the features expected to be added next year, but many of the ones Google promised for launch day. There have been issues in fulfillment as well, with many early adopters waiting days to receive access codes, despite pre-ordering months ago.
But a bad launch doesn’t mean Stadia is doomed to fail. There’s plenty of precedents, from game companies to Google itself, of new platforms having trouble out the gate, only to mature into stable, thriving ecosystems. We’re comparing different launches with very different problems, of course, but it’s still worth looking at how companies reacted, whether they listened to their fans, adapted to changing landscapes, or simply had some stars align. Let’s take a look.