Google Stadia Display
Image: Frank Cifaldi

Google has just pulled the plug on its Stadia cloud gaming platform and will shutter the service in January 2023. Now, the person behind one of the key promotional items for Stadia is giving you the chance to own a now-infamous piece of gaming history.

Video Game History Foundation founder Frank Cifaldi is auctioning off the "Anything you dream can be built" display which was shown off at 2019 Game Developers Conference, where Stadia was first revealed.

This display includes a Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Power Glove and a copy of E.T. on the Atari 2600, along with an Atari joystick. At the time of writing, the auction has had 34 bids and stands at $1,525.00.

Ironically, the display has proven to be quite accurate, as Stadia itself will now go down as one of gaming's greatest follies.

As Cifaldi explains in the auction listing, that wasn't exactly the vibe Google was going for when it commissioned him to create it:

Through a series of mishandlings, miscommunications, misunderstandings and other general mishaps, the grand unveiling of Google's now-doomed gaming service was stationed next to...three of the most famous commercial failures in video game history.

I work for a charity called Video Game History Foundation. In 2019 we were approached to help a marketing firm conceptualize a timeline of video game history leading up to the unveiling of the Stadia...a sort of "here are all of the innovations of the past, which are all antiques now that we are in the bright beautiful tomorrow of cloud gaming." We were also tasked with providing the items themselves.

So how did they end up sitting it next to these bizarre items? Well that's a long story but let's just say they changed scope and vision about three times in the process, it went through what felt like several committees and decision-makers who all disagreed with each other, they changed direction completely with like a week left before the show, and by the end it was a mish-mash of two entirely different concepts, "a timeline of video game console innovation" and "collectibles people will take a selfie next to." The details don't really matter, what really matters here at the end of the day is that it was not my fault.

All proceeds from the auction benefit the Video Game History Foundation charity, which works tirelessly to preserve and document all facets of gaming history, building a digital archive and physical library of items which will help educate and enlighten generations of players.

Stadia vice president and general manager Phil Harrison – who famously helped launch the PlayStation in the '90s and also worked at Microsoft on its Xbox brand – said in a blog post that "while Stadia's approach to streaming games for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn't gained the traction with users that we expected so we've made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service."

However, Harrison added that the tech which powered Stadia will continue to drive the company's streaming efforts:

The underlying technology platform that powers Stadia has been proven at scale and transcends gaming. We see clear opportunities to apply this technology across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality (AR) efforts — as well as make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed. We remain deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators.

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