Earlier today, Google unexpectedly announced that it would stop its efforts to develop first-party games for Stadia. However, if there is no first-party game, is it possible for Google Stadia to succeed?
When Google first released Stadia in early 2019, it promoted Stadia Games and Entertainment to the first-party game development department.
Although the department helped release some exclusive games, such as “The Orcs Must Die”! 3 and Outcasters, Stadia does not yet have the first-party title made by Google.
After the announcement today, it seems that Google will continue to work on Stadia instead of focusing on the first-party title. In this case, can Stadia still become a relevant gaming platform?
For decades, exclusive games have been one of the main driving forces for the success of video game consoles. One of the best examples is Halo, which became one of the biggest reasons to buy Xbox, leading to the brief acquisition of developer Bungie by Microsoft.
Other franchises such as Forza Motorsport and Gears of War have also been sold to Xbox, leading Microsoft to acquire larger studios, such as Bethesda.
Similarly, “God of War”, “Ratchet and Clank” and “The Last of Us” have also been sold on PlayStation. Of course, Nintendo is known for its exclusive and hugely successful franchise lineup, including Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
As far as Google is concerned, it now seems not interested in developing first-party games for Stadia. It is worth noting that this does not necessarily mean that Stadia will no longer have other exclusive games.
This just means that Google will not be the one who develops them, so they cannot be the biggest cheerleaders of games that can only exist in the cloud.
Instead, Google will rely on third-party developers to challenge the limits and prove to gamers and other developers that not only is there a possible experience in the cloud, it is also worth buying from Stadia. However, these experiences may look completely different from the future we showed in 2019.
In Google Assistant, Google Assistant can help you overcome difficulties, or AI can enhance game functions to provide more realistic characters.
Now, Google is choosing Stadia as a tool for “business partners”. But what does that mean? Phil Harrison said in the announcement that Google is willing to cooperate with companies “seeking game solutions” based on Stadia technology.
The possibilities range from services like Ubisoft+, integrated with various Stadia apps to simply unlock games, to customized experiences, such as the standalone EA Play app, which quietly uses Stadia for its streaming services.
It is worth noting that for gamers who are still acceptable to the status quo of Stadia today, you only need to buy the games you need, without paying a subscription or buying hardware, and there may be no change.
Ubisoft+ is a good example. Today, Stadia players can choose to purchase individual Ubisoft games from the Stadia store, or they can get access through Ubisoft+ subscriptions. Of course, the final decision will be made by developers and publishers, but after putting in the necessary energy to make the game run on Stadia, it is easy enough not only to subscribe but also to sell it.
We don’t yet know whether Stadia will become a universal white-label service, or whether the Stadia experience as we know it today including apps, stores, communities, and controller hardware will continue to exist.
If Google still wants Stadia to flourish, shutting down Stadia Games and Entertainment will effectively reduce its ability to use the exclusive features of Stadia from developers.
Just three months ago, Stadia Games and Entertainment stated that they are specifically seeking help to release games that will be released in 2023 and beyond, as well as any games that include Stadia’s unique features, such as State Share or any games that use the Google ecosystem.