When Google announced it was shutting down its Stadia service, it sent shockwaves through the gaming community as it made gamers remember that Google Stadia existed in the first place. The console, according to the announcement, “failed to gain traction” with gamers, which is synonymous with “nobody bought the thing.” When Google pulls the plug on its “Netflix for Games” concept in January 2023, it will have lived a total of 38 months, less than many other equally terrible consoles over the years. In fact, here are some of the worst consoles that have graced the industry and somehow outlasted Google Stadia.
The 5 worst consoles of all time… that still outlived Google Stadia
While Google Stadia isn’t the shortest-lived console ever — that dubious honor belongs to Nintendo’s Virtual Boy disaster — it’s a dismal failure by any measure. So much so that Google is offering refunds to the few dozen people who signed up for the service. Some might say they are making the right decision in unplugging Stadia before it becomes the money pit these systems have become.
Atari Lynx (Lifetime: 60 months)
Atari made several attempts to stay relevant in the home console industry after their initial success in the 1980s. By 1989 they were ready to jump into the handheld arena with the Lynx. Unfortunately, the Lynx came out just a few months after a small console called the Game Boy. When presented with an option for a handheld console with or without Mario, most people went with the plumber. The Lynx was such a disaster for Atari that, combined with the failure of the Jaguar in 1993, ultimately spelled the death knell for Atari as an independent company.
Phillips CD-i (Lifetime: 73 months)
It’s a game console that wasn’t really a console. Originally conceived as an odd presentation system for businesses, the CD-i format was eventually repurposed and released to gamers in 1990. It featured Nintendo’s first famous foray into licensing their properties to other companies, resulting in the nightmarish Zelda CD-i games. Still, the console’s versatile design meant it stayed surprisingly long, almost accidentally doubling the lifespan of Google Stadia.
Sega Saturn (Lifetime: 41 months)
Sega caught lightning in a bottle with the Genesis console, giving Nintendo a run for its money with the introduction of its Sonic the Hedgehog mascot. His follow-up, however, could not repeat this feat. The stage was set for Sega to make the leap into competition; it came out long before the Sony PlayStation or the Nintendo 64. However, it came out so early that there were simply no games for the Saturn. Sega has moved the console’s release date by four months. There were only six games for the console in its first three months, which spelled the death knell for the Saturn before it even had a chance.
Sony PlayStation Vita (Lifetime: 88 months)
We have a soft spot in our hearts for the PlayStation Vita, but that doesn’t mean it was a hit console. Released at a time when mobile gaming was taking off in direct competition with the incredible success of the Nintendo 3DS, the Vita was doomed from the start. Despite releasing a few great titles for the system and having a huge library of visual novels and niche JRPGs, the Vita was such a disaster that it killed Sony’s handheld gaming lineup. The Vita stumbled so the Switch could work and lasted more than twice as long as the Google Stadia.
Nintendo Wii U (lifetime: 50 months)
The Nintendo Wii U is an endlessly frustrating game console. It featured many great games, like Mario Kart 8, Breath of the Wild, and Mario Maker. However, even the incredible power of Nintendo’s proprietary properties couldn’t save the Wii U from terrible marketing and design that left most third-party developers scratching their heads. The fact that many of the console’s best games have since been ported to its more successful successor is a testament to how unimportant that console was.