Google Stadia was the big hype of 2019 when it was first announced by the tech giant. The service —which is essentially a modern day On-Live— was looked at as being the service that would really push the on-demand streaming agenda for video games; the “Netflix-for-games” agenda if you will. But when Google Stadia arrived last November, it seemed to all on deaf ears.
When it launched, Google Stadia did have some high-profile partnerships with video game publishers. These partnerships included Ubisoft, Rockstar, Bungie, EA, Deep Silver and more. But while the big-time publishers can afford to take a risk, the same can’t be said for the smaller and independent game studios. In a report from Business Insider, some unnamed developers spoke on the fact that there’s so little in terms of financial incentive from Google Stadia that it’s not worth publishing games on the platform.
“It’s that there isn’t enough money there,” one of the publishing executives we spoke with said. The offer was apparently “so low that it wasn’t even part of the conversation.”
“When we’re looking at these types of deals,” another prominent indie developer said, “We’re looking at ‘Is this enough money where we have the resources to make what we want, or is this an exclusivity deal that gives us security?'” they said.
Typically in such a partnership where a new service is launching without a guaranteed user-base, the company launching the platform would offer publishers money-based deals for them to put content on their platform. If what these developers say is accurate then it raises the question of why Google hasn’t allocated more funds to secure more games on its Stadia service. Currently Google Stadia has 28 titles available.
The Business Insider report goes on to say the following…
“There are platforms you want to be on because they have an audience and you want to reach that audience,” one developer said. “That’s what Steam is, or that’s what [Nintendo] Switch is. They have big groups on their platforms, and you want to be with those groups so they can play your games.”
But Stadia doesn’t have a large audience to reach — at least not yet — so Google must create that incentive for developers. And the people we spoke with said, outside of money, there wasn’t much reason to put their games on Stadia.
Google has a reputation for launching services, only to discontinue them later. Hopefully Stadia doesn’t become the latest victim of this. I truly believe the service has potential, and the fact that they’ve released ahead of the next console cycle puts Google in a position where they could easily capitalize. But Google has to take their Stadia business more seriously if they want it to succeed.
Can Google Stadia get it together and become a major player in the gaming industry? Let us know what you think.