Developers and Publishers Lack Incentives to Produce Google Stadia Titles, Business Insider Reports

Google Stadia

Anonymous developers and publishing executives have spoken to Business Insider, stating they have little reason to produce titles for Google Stadia.

Google Stadia has always faced an uphill battle. From the concept of cloud gaming when less people than you think can have a stable internet connection (let alone a fast one), combined with their launch line up being made up of older titles at full price.

Insistence the console would use negative latency and input prediction to be “faster than local consoles” were also mocked.

The console itself then suffered a litany of launch issues, and would later overheat Chromecast Ultra units, and not offering true 4K resolution. Google denied both of the latter claims, despite evidence to the contrary.

This was further compounded by a lack of new titles, exclusive titles, and titles overall. So far, there are 56 titles already out, or coming to Google Stadia since its launch in November 2019. 22 of those are upcoming titles.

Now, Business Insider reports that developers are not keen to produce titles on Google Stadia. One anonymous indie developer told them “We were approached by the Stadia team. Usually with that kind of thing, they lead with some kind of offer that would give you an incentive to go with them. [The incentive] was kind of non-existent. That’s the short of it.”

Business Insider states they heard similar comments from “several prominent indie developers and two publishing executives we spoke with for this piece.” One of these publishing executives stated “It’s that there isn’t enough money there,” and that the offer was “so low that it wasn’t even part of the conversation.”

Another “prominent” indie developer made similar statements. “When we’re looking at these types of deals, 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?'”

In addition to the money, a lack of audience was an issue for at least one developer. “There are platforms you want to be on because they have an audience and you want to reach that audience. 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.”

Another developer was concerned with how quickly Google drop support for technologies and services that do not work or achieve success [1, 2, 3].

“If you could see yourself getting into a long term relationship with Google? But with Google’s history, I don’t even know if they’re working on Stadia in a year. That wouldn’t be something crazy that Google does. It’s within their track record.”

Business Insider also notes that fears Google would kill the Stadia “was repeatedly brought up, unprompted, by every person we spoke with for this piece.”

One publishing executive stated “With Google, it’s easy to look at them as, well — it’s Google! If anyone’s gonna make it work, it’s them. But they’ve failed a ton in the past and walked away from major services.”

A developer told Business Insider “It wasn’t just a financial thing. At the end of the day, I’m asking the question, ‘Why would I do this?’ And there was no positive reason to move forward. There wasn’t really anything to want us to get in the door other than to be the first on the platform.”

Ben Gilbert, the author of the Business Insider article, also takes issue with the lack of indie titles on Google Stadia.

“But where are the dozens of indie hits that helped bolster the libraries of Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Switch? Where are the games like ‘Bloodstained,’ ‘Shovel Knight,’ ‘Dead Cells,’ and ‘Untitled Goose Game’ — the blockbuster indie games that sell millions of copies and inspire sequels?

These games have become critical to the success of any new game platform, yet, of the 28 games currently available on Stadia, just four fall into the indie category.”

Editor’s Note: As of March 1st, when the Business Insider article was produced, there were 30 titles on Google Stadia- according to Wikipedia

When contacted by Business Insider, Stadia Representative Patrick Seybold stated “The publishers and developers we speak with regularly are very supportive, and want Stadia to succeed. It is also worth pointing out that not every publisher has announced their games for Stadia so far, and more games will continue to be announced in due course.”

What would it take to make developers and publishers produce titles on Google Stadia? What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!


Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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