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Developers react to the sudden shutdown of Google Stadia


This is no surprise to anyone, as Puyo recalled last night when commenting on the announcement of the closure of Stadia on January 18. We remember attendance figures that had leaked, and reported barely 40,000 users on the platform a few months after its launch. However, many developers continued to adapt their old or future games on the platform for an excellent reason: Google offered them a golden bridge. The Stadia ports almost paid for themselves, despite an audience that we imagine would be more and more limited over time.

Service failure is no surprise, as Aadit Doshi quips, gameplay programming at Rocksteady Studios.

“In all honesty, Google Stadia had everything against it for the past three years: a global pandemic that forced everyone to get online gaming, but also a shortage of graphics cards and consoles that created a high demand for alternatives. If only they had come to market at a better time.”

Not all developers have this bite, and most complain directly about the economic future of their studio as well as Google’s lack of communication with co-contracting studios. This is particularly the case of Tom Vian of SFB Games, who was going to launch Tangle Tower tomorrow and who discovered the death of Stadia in the press like everyone else.

This is also the case of Brandon Sheffield from Necrosoft Games, who was going to release a new title on the platform.

“I know everyone has a good laugh at Stadia’s setbacks, but it was the biggest revenue stream among streaming services, launching Hyper Gunsport on it was going to cut into our development costs. We were going to launch the game and now we’re in a much more difficult situation. I don’t know yet what will happen with our launch on Stadia (we will always release on other platforms), but Google paid for the percentage of time played per Stadia Pro user, which was a guaranteed return on investment, I’ll find out soon, but we were counting on several months of player use to recoup our investment.

The financial questions are numerous, as for Mike Rose of No More Robots.

“Oh my god, we had a title that was going to be released on Stadia in November. Who wants to bet that Google is going to refuse to refund us the money it owes us? For all those who ask why we do not publish more on Stadia, that’s why. Three hours later, we still have no email from Stadia, and no visibility of what’s going to happen with our games, nothing. Really, it would have been nice to say it in advance or even to get in touch with its business partners, right?

Fortunately, a more recent tweet from Olde Sküül boss Rebecca Heineman shows that Google has since reached out to some of its developers.

“At least Google has reached out to us and we’re working together to mitigate the damage from canceling our game’s release on Stadia. It’s still on other platforms, but still, ouch.”

It’s unclear what kind of compensation Google may offer, with the contracts presumably including a service shutdown clause. Do the developers keep the benefit of the milestones paid during development progress? We hope so. But are they compensated for the loss of lost earnings for long-term operation on the platform? Nothing is less certain, and we risk not learning it for a long time.

It is in any case the end of a service that has not been easy for the companies that have decided to use it. We remember, for example, the cancellation of the port of Terraria on Stadia because the creator of the game had his Google account deleted during development.





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