Google Stadia apparently has offered insufficient incentives for devs on the platform

    
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Google Stadia apparently has offered insufficient incentives for devs on the platform

So why exactly is Stadia – a major platform launched pushed by Google of all the companies in the world – floundering so badly? The answer may surprise you if, like, you haven’t been paying any attention to the news about this platform whatsoever. But a new piece from Business Insider looks at one of the underdiscussed avenues in which the Stadia is underperforming, specifically its anemic game library. Why aren’t there more games on there? According to several indie developers it’s the simple reality that Google isn’t giving anyone a reason to launch on the platform.

Developers, especially smaller developers, are enticed to platforms either via financial incentives or the security of ongoing publishing and exclusivity deals. Stadia, meanwhile, has offered basically no incentives, and for most developers there doesn’t seem to be any sort of assurance that Google will still be supporting Stadia in a year or two years or whatever. Thus, there’s very little incentive to launch on the platform, which means there’s less reason for players to buy in, and it all becomes a vicious and self-created cycle. You know, aside from all of the other problems.

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Random MMO fan

Sadly Google are not seriously interested in this. It is just another experiment for them. Can you imagine if they had a competent person who would start an MMORPG project, with an intention to actually make a unique and long lasting game? They have plenty of disposable income from Ad revenue and plenty of their own cloud servers for scaling the game to be able to have huge worlds with huge amount of players and huge battles.

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Anton Mochalin

I think they’re actually very interested, but being a Google’s fan I still feel like gaming is just not in their DNA so to speak. All their gaming-related efforts feel too generic as if they just don’t have that secret sauce that would make things work. It’s exactly how I felt about Bioware and Anthem when the game was announced – I couldn’t see how Bioware would be able to make a good looter shooter because looter shooters have a very different priorities and values set compared to the kind of RPGs Bioware made before.

Compare Google’s efforts to Nvidia’s streaming service – Nvidia is clearly so much better at understanding the gaming industry. For example they have that option to run games from one’s Steam library on their cloud – it’s so clever.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Google: If we build it, they will come.
Basically everyone else on the Planet: Nope.

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silverlock

Can you even mod Stadia games? Can you imagine having to play vanilla Skyrim.

The quicker this thing dies the happier I’ll be.

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Armsbend

I bet your eternal soul the next broken TES won’t allow non-paid mods. It is going to be a nightmare – and the hopeful end of it all. How fitting would it be that the company that started it all – destroyed it all?

This is my prophecy.

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Jon Wax

Weird time where Google having probs with stadia whilst media molecule is Killin it with Dreams, potentially creating a ton of new devs

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Danny Smith

Seriously wondering if this and the entire KilledbyGoogle roster is a every other year tax write off hustle

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rafael12104

So… two thoughts.

At this point, I don’t think Google even cares.

As others have pointed out, Stadia is a proof of concept. Usually before you go to production you have proof of concept followed by a rigorous test methodology to validate the product and turn it into something real.

Google is not doing that. They shipped early because they really don’t care about the early outcome at all, or the fact that loyal customers bought into their bullshit claims.

They can easily throw this on top of google glass and write it off as R&D and maybe even get a little tax break, if push comes to shove.

For now, they are happy to wait and see what MS and Sony will do.

And of course the arrogance of such a strategy is very dangerous.

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Armsbend

I so very much don’t care if these things fail miserably. I’m not even taking a side – the ideas are just so uninspiring – unlike movies and music.

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Greaterdivinity

Because this is a Google beta test. They don’t do normal beta tests because they can afford to launch a product and use the public for a beta test (sup Google Glass!). They’re seeing if they want to spend big on this before investing heavily in this, which will likely shoot the service in the foot.

I imagine after Ouya and some other services went “poof”, and the fact that this apparently requires some work to integrate with Stadia (so, investment), devs are going to be a lot more cagey about throwing behind new platforms like this. Especially if they’re not getting any financial incentives or guarantees.

Why blow money on a port to Stadia and ramp up marketing efforts for the platform (even small scale) if there’s a decent chance it won’t be alive by 2023?

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cursedseishi

Especially with ‘incentivizing’, I think, Google might also be relying (poorly) on the fact that they’re Google too. They might honestly be expecting games (especially indies) to simply… flock to them because of name-brand and not because of any decent offer being made.

And that’s why outside of that early announcement of exclusives, we haven’t seen squat pop up. Developers thought Google might be willing to draw in and do the work needed to get attention to the platform…

When, instead, Google just did what Google always does. They’re the rich kid who bought a neat expensive toy for solely its novelty, opened the package and twisted the arms about some, and then tossed it in the toy bin with the rest of their crap once that ‘new toy’ smell was gone.

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Greaterdivinity

It’ll go in the large pile with all the other projects they threw tens of millions and did half-assed launches with poor support for.

It’s gotta be nice to be able to treat formal product launches as beta tests with little to no consequence. I’d love to have that kinda money to blow left and right.

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Arktouros

This is basically what giving companies incentives does and why I hate that it’s become an industry norm for games.

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Greaterdivinity

Not at all. This is usually what new platforms do to bring in new blood, either developer or consumer.

See EGS – They are buying up timed exclusives and have the far better 88:12 revenue split which is designed to make the platform more attractive for developers, either because they’re getting a sack of cash or because they’re simply earning more per-sale than on any other platform.

They’re also giving away free games and running some solid sales (all at their own expense) to bring in new users. Just like we see ads for delivery apps offering credit in the app (free money) for new users.

And similarly, while it’s not 1:1 as they’re established companies, this isn’t terribly different than first party hiring some known studios to make exclusive games for their new consoles. That’s not so much an “incentive”, as it is simply an investment (which is what those incentives boil down to) in their product to show developers that they’re serious about it.

Why on earth would other companies invest to port their games to this new service that’s apparently not selling well and doesn’t have much hype behind it? It’s a financial risk for them, so it’s in their best interests to wait it out and see how the service performs in the longrun. If Google wants to make it succeed, they need to find ways to attract these developers to their platform. And the best way to do that has, and will always be by limiting the financial risk of participation.

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Arktouros

EGS was basically a rich person’s rage project that Steam/Valve wouldn’t give them a greater discount/cut for adding Fortnite to their store. You can see they reacted the exact same way with the Google Android store and you have to manually install apps on your phone (as if that isn’t dangerous as all shit for the layman user).

Game Devs are 100% on board to take advantage of bad practices like this. EGS pays them for X copies of the game guaranteeing them X amount of game sales before the game even launches. The only competition EGS created was how much platforms trying to make their storefront a thing are willing to pay for content to fill their stores with.

So here you have this hundred billion+ value company looking to create a platform, why wouldn’t they expect or demand a payout? EGS gave them a payout to build their shitty platform, why won’t Google?

The whole thing is corrupt and rotten to it’s core.

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Armsbend

I want to use the phrase ‘rich person’s rage project’ more in my life. I don’t know how yet – but I’ll figure out a way to implement it.

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rafael12104

Hmm. I shall think on this. BTW, is there a “poor persons whimper?”

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Armsbend

There is. It is called an “internet forum”. It elected a real estate developer from New York as it’s President.

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Greaterdivinity

EGS was basically a rich person’s rage project that Steam/Valve wouldn’t give them a greater discount/cut for adding Fortnite to their store.

No, it wasn’t. Not in the slightest. This was Epic diversifying their revenue streams off of the billions that Fortnite is bringing in. They now have engine licensing, games (mostly Fortnite), and now the EGS. The reason they gave the better revenue share was to entice developers to the platform.

This is smart business 101, diversify your revenue streams while you have a single product doing most of the heavy lifting so that when revenue from that product predictably decreases down the road it doesn’t financially sink your company. It also protects them in the longrun if there are disruptions in any individual revenue stream.

You can see they reacted the exact same way with the Google Android store and you have to manually install apps on your phone (as if that isn’t dangerous as all shit for the layman user).

Not at all. It remains in-line with Tim Sweeney’s promotion of open systems. He’s vocally been against closed systems like the App store or when Microsoft was pushing to make Windows a more closed system. Android isn’t totally closed, so rather than use the storefront (which isn’t great and doesn’t earn the 30% cut) they’d prefer to go directly to consumers.

EGS pays them for X copies of the game guaranteeing them X amount of game sales before the game even launches.

Only if it’s an exclusive, which is the minimum guarantee. This does not happen for most titles. This is also how minimum guarantees work (see: Developers will have “minimum guarantee” sales for licensors).

The only competition EGS created was how much platforms trying to make their storefront a thing are willing to pay for content to fill their stores with.

Or…

It caused Valve to start meaningfully updating Steam a la the library etc.
It pushed Valve to update their revenue share plans.
It pushed other storefronts to revisit revenue sharing and services provided.

Yes, it’s making storefronts work harder to attract developers AND gamers, rather than just gamers. That’s a good thing.

The whole thing is corrupt and rotten to it’s core.

No, it’s not. This is literally how business works and capitalism 101, not even in the negative sense. Creating a new platform? You need to ATTRACT people to spend money creating content for it, and ATTRACT people to spend money on that content.

You don’t just release it and say, “Well, come on if you want.” which is what Google did and why Stadia has so few games. It’s also why you see more developers pulling their games from Geforce Now as they didn’t have approval to host their games.

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Arktouros

Except they don’t rely on revenue share to get developers, they rely entirely on exclusivity deals. Exclusivity deals that cost millions and has in all likely ended up as a net-negative for them so far (not that they ever include those numbers in their earning reports). Also exclusivity deals that if the developers reject then Epic won’t even let them onto their store.

This is because Tim Sweeney is a lying sack of shit who says one thing and does another. He’s 100% vocal against closed systems and then buys out exclusive deals with games on the top wishlisted games on Steam to his own walled garden marketplace. That isn’t open. That isn’t competition. It’s just another tech company throwing money around to create their own closed market and force consumers into their market if you want those products. Products specifically targeted from high wishlisted items on a competitor.

It did literally none of those things. Steam hasn’t changed shit in the wake of Epic. In fact it’s done the opposite and killed off competition as companies like Amazon gave up on their own launcher and went to steam with New World and other companies like EA launched products like Fallen Order through Steam. You can literally see here in this article game devs refuse to do anything for Stadia without getting compensated in advance. They are literally saying this. This is the net effect EGS throwing around money has had, devs not bothering with platforms that aren’t paying them to be there.

If you want an example of Capitalism 101: The Basics they would say we’re offering developers a higher revenue share, come sell your game on our store. Developers see the higher share and choose to exclusively sell the game on their store because they want more money per sale. That’s the developers decision, not the store’s decision. What EGS is doing is more Capitalism 201: The Dirty Shit and preaching about open systems and being fair to developers on one end and then creating a walled garden of exclusive deals to force people into it if you want those products. Oh and if you don’t like it, well, they “aren’t in a position yet to open the store up to [simultaneous shipment].”

Is that perfectly legal? Yep. However they don’t get to be hypocritical shitbags who preach openness but then practice exclusivity and then expect us to treat them based on what they preach. They’re corrupt and rotten and trying to get people who don’t know any better to side with them based on what they say and not what they do.

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Greaterdivinity

Except they don’t rely on revenue share to get developers, they rely entirely on exclusivity deals.

It’s both, actually. The revenue share is to get more games without exclusivity, but also to decrease exclusivity costs.

Exclusivity deals that cost millions and has in all likely ended up as a net-negative for them so far (not that they ever include those numbers in their earning reports).

Based on sales numbers for exclusives like WWZ and Metro…no, they’re selling very well and are likely doing well for the EGS.

And they’re not a publicly traded company, so there aren’t earnings reports.

Steam hasn’t changed shit in the wake of Epic.

Finally pushed their library update live. Updated revenue sharing based on sales numbers so the more revenue a developer makes the more they keep per sale.

He’s 100% vocal against closed systems and then buys out exclusive deals with games on the top wishlisted games on Steam to his own walled garden marketplace.

EGS isn’t a closed system. You don’t seem to know what a closed system is. He’s never been opposed to exclusives, just closed systems.

That isn’t competition.

It literally is. This is how new platforms operate when trying to get into an established market.

I’ll stop here because it seems you’re determined to hate Epic and view them as the bad guy regardless. But thus far your points haven’t been remotely strong.

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Nathan Aldana

*eyeroll* If im a small indie platform and have to put in man hours to get my product to roll out on a platform why should i just put in that money and time without any fucking guarantee of anything?

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Arktouros

Man if you wanted guarantees I have no fucking clue why you would open or run your own business LOL

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Nathan Aldana

I wouldnt. because I’m not stupid enough to think I could run a business worth a damn. But at the same time, I’m also not dumb enough to just leap on some shitty google thinktank idea in the hopes magical exposure juice would make it worth my effort

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Greaterdivinity

If the option is there to minimize financial risk and ensure that your studio will stay afloat without rolling the dice on a launch?

Yeah, that’s hugely appealing to small studios that can live or die by the success of a single title.

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Daniel Miller

It has leas games than days of a month.