Stretching the Limits of “Ownership” and Stadia
Myth: You don’t own your games on Stadia
On Stadia, your purchase of a game is a license to play that game on Stadia. You can compare that to buying a game on Steam or a digital purchase on PlayStation or Xbox. The only difference is that you’re not actively downloading the game using that license. For the average person, there’s absolutely no difference in terms of ownership between buying a game from Stadia versus Steam, PlayStation, or Xbox — at least when you’re buying the digital versions. Plus, game stores do eventually shut down. The Wii Shop died in 2019, 13 years after the console launched, as just one example.
This is the biggest stretch of the word “ownership” I’ve seen in a while. “Owning” a game on Stadia is fundamentally different than owning a game on the other platforms mentioned in this bit and it’s absurd to suggest they are the same thing. The Wii Shop did shut down last year, and when it did, every Wii owner who bought games from there was able to keep playing those games.
In fact, I own Ocarina of Time digitally on the Wii and played it earlier this year. Nintendo’s servers don’t need to be running for me to play that game. Sure, if I delete it and want to re-download it, I’m out of luck. Maybe that’s an argument against digital ownership in general, but it’s far from the apples-to-apples comparison being made here.
Stadia is a bit of a punch line in the gaming industry right now, so I get why fans of the service would feel compelled to defend it. Let’s just not go too far down the false dichotomy road to make a point.