Google are offering Google Stadia developers revenue share of Stadia Pro subscriptions based on engagement; along with a bonus based on those who play their games on a free-trial later subscribing.
During the Stadia Keynote at the Google for Game Developer Summit, Careen Yapp (Business Development) discussed the platform’s past successes, and what the future of it would be. This also included Stadia Pro, and the free trial it provides for access multiple titles.
“Recently, we’ve asked ourselves, how can we ensure partners benefit more readily from our subscription,” Yapp asks. She explains that starting in July, any new titles entering Stadia Pro will earn 70% of subscription revenue between them “based upon engagement for active claimable Stadia Pro titles.”
“To make this as easy as possible,” Yapp explains, “engagement will be measured by session days, one user playing one Stadia Pro game twice on day one equals one session day.” A user who plays the game twice across two days would count as two session days.
This may mean developers may feel encouraged to make their games played as often possible; such as utilizing log-in bonuses and limited time in-game events.
Other plans for Google Stadia include the Affiliate Marketing Program; where Click-to-Play links to play a Stadia Pro game while on Free Trial. This affiliate link will also be monitor data for how it performs, and will give $10 USD per user that played the game, who later subscribes for Stadia Pro (with a $500 USD minimum). This will launch in the first half of 2022.
Finally, Google Stadia will launch a limited time incentive program for new games; offering 85% of revenue share (up to a $3 million USD threshold, and thereafter returning to the normal revenue share). This will apply for all games launching form October 1st, to the end of 2023.
Google’s goal seems to be maximizing how much players play Stadia games, and wanting to subscribe to Pro. Both are likely attempts to dissuade prior bad press.
In 2020 there were reports of developers and publishers lacking incentives to make games for the system, and Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick stated there was “some overpromising” on what streaming technology could do. There has even been a recent a lawsuit regarding the Google Stadia’s claims of 4K graphics; something the company insisted was true shortly after launch.
In February 2021, Google announced they were shutting down Stadia Games & Entertainment, alongside the end of internal investing towards exclusive content. Later that month, a Bloomberg report citing “two people familiar with the matter” claimed that dozens of Google Stadia games being cancelled; including a horror game by Hideo Kojima, and being “hundreds of thousands” short of subscriber targets.
Anonymous employees speaking to other outlets claimed management had a lack of experience and knowledge regarding game development; including slow hiring, lacking the proper internal review steps, refusing to use certain essential software over security issues, and little time to meet the launch deadline considering the standard Google wanted.
Five days after emailing employees that there would be “high-level platform budget and investment envelope” thanks to the great progress made, Google Stadia product manager Phil Harrison told employees on February 1st that they had shut down Stadia Games and Entertainment. Those with the relevant skills had the chance to find employment elsewhere at Google.
May 2021 saw an exodus of seven major employees [1, 2, 3, 4]; including Vice President and Head of Product at Stadia John Justice, General Manager of Google’s Stadia Games Sebastien Puel, and more. Developer Marketing Lead Nate Ahearn stated later that month that everything was “alive and well.”