Indie developers are not exactly flocking to work with Stadia...
Stadia is Google’s new-age gaming console, without the console. It is essentially a game streaming service and can be used on the tech you already own. Just pick up the controller and go. Stadia can be played on many mobile and tablet devices, as well as computers and TVs (with a Chromecast Ultra), and will run wirelessly over Wi-Fi, or a wired ethernet connection. Currently, the controller must be wired, but plans for wireless capability are in motion.
While Stadia does have some big titles available to play now, including Borderlands 3, Destiny 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2, the exclusives they’ve managed to bag don’t inspire much confidence in the longevity of the streaming service.
So far, the only exclusive game Google Stadia has on offer is Tequila Works’ Gylt, with Orcs Must Die 3 on the way, sometime in the Spring of 2020. Google plans on several new exclusives for the system, however, there has been no info released on that.
This lack of exclusive content has been a sore spot for Google Stadia, and has ultimately led to poor sales, with Forbes even calling the brand's launch a “disaster”.
Google Stadia's upcoming plans include ten timed exclusive titles, as set out in its blog post from the start of this year reading; “we are targeting more than ten games in the first half of this year alone that will be only available on Stadia when they launch. We’re working with our partners to share more on those games soon.” There’s no word, yet, on what those exclusives could be, but Google has confirmed they are working with major companies such as EA, Bethesda, and Ubisoft. Whether or not these titles will be exclusive is not looking promising, given the huge powerhouses that are PlayStation and Xbox locking down publisher deals years ago.
Even though Stadia does have access to the Triple-A titles, it’s still missing out on the massive market that is indie games (such as Untitled Goose Game, Dead Cells, and more), but it appears developers simply won’t entertain the idea of working with Google on those.
Show Them The Money?
Business Insider spoke with several unnamed indie developers, who all echoed the same sentiment; "usually with that kind of thing, they lead with some kind of offer that would give you an incentive to go with them." But the incentive "was kind of non-existent," they said.
Another indie publishing executive added, "it's that there isn't enough money there, [and the offer was] so low that it wasn't even part of the conversation."
In a bid to add games to its roster, Stadia Games and Entertainment, Google Stadia’s own studio has been launched in Playa Vista, California, headed up by Shannon Studstill, former head of Sony Santa Monica and a PlayStation Veteran. The hopes are to develop games exclusively for Stadia, as well as working with third-party developers to encourage them to support Stadia-specific features rather than just pushing their standard version to the platform.
It seems Google Stadia has two options to revamp its current status; make its own titles, or simply put up the cash to indie developers for theirs. The next few months will be key to Google Stadia’s success or failure, and cement or delete their place in gaming history.
Images via PAImages and House House