It’s not big news that Stadia didn’t exactly perform well upon release. The streaming platform, which was big news when it was announced, absolutely face planted itself when the platform officially released with missing features and an abysmally low library of games available. Now it turns out why that is, and how Google has responded.
Turns out that a big reason for the low library count was a lack of indie games that make up so much of the PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo store libraries. And, according to Business Insider, who asked several key developers in the industry why exactly they held back on making games for Google's Stadia platform, this was because Google simply didn’t offer them enough money.
It’s worth noting that this is not some kind of ‘I want more money because I’m greedy’ kind of thing, according to those developers the offers were “so low that it wasn't even part of the conversation.”
When it comes to indie games it’s a huge deal what platform you release on. Certain platforms will have benefits over others, so developers have a choice to pick whoever will suit their game the best, not just the money incentive. For instance, some platforms will have more of the kind of niche audience that the developers are looking for to play their games. Unfortunately for Google though, the latter is not something they have; since Stadia doesn’t have a tremendous player base, the only thing Google can offer developers is a financial incentive to release exclusively on their platform, but since that incentive was so low, it wasn’t even worth thinking about.
Interestingly, Stadia representative Patrick Seybold’s response to this was "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."
These publishers that he's talking about are: EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft, 2K Games and Rockstar Games… So basically the publishing companies that almost exclusively sell AAA games right? That's not exactly a promise that more indie games will be appearing on Stadia's store, nor a promise that they will change the way they negotiate with indie developers. Or maybe Google doesn't care about them and simply only wants to deal with the big boys at the table.
There’s clearly a problem with Google’s Stadia platform, whether it’s the lack of indie games or not, there’s a constant worry that Google simply won’t continue to support the platform in the future, and would rather abandon it like it has done so many times before with previous projects.
So what’s your take on this? Is the lack of indie games a problem? Or is there something else? And do you think Google will abandon Stadia in the future? Let us know your thoughts!