Stadia has been all the rage today and rightfully so. It's poised to offer a nice alternative for gamers who are seeking a method of playing games that isn't bogged down by the common issues that can pop up for current hardware-based gaming setups.
Like consoles which aren't as powerful as top-tier gaming rigs but offer a much cheaper point of entry, and top-tier gaming rigs which can play the most demanding games at the highest possible settings but also cost thousands of dollars.
Kicking things off this morning at Stadia Connect, Google opened up to the world about its vision for the future of gaming, which includes a nice list of launch titles that are sure to grab attention.
The starting lineup of games is great, but will it be enough for Stadia? Platform exclusives come to mind. Google likely has some of these planned for its game streaming service but will they be the kinds of exclusives which draw in consumers and convince them to choose Stadia over other platforms?
Companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are perfect examples of companies that offer exclusive game titles on their respective platforms that have the ability to create and nurture extreme interest for one platform over another. Though the scale of how many game titles are exclusive to one particular platform has certainly dwindled over the years, exclusives still exist.
Beyond exclusive game titles Stadia may simply not offer games that are available on every other platform. This is where gamers are relying on the team at Stadia to make the right decisions in which games to seek out and which publishers to work with in hopes of bringing them into the fold.
Though things could end up better the longer Stadia is out, for the very beginning at least and perhaps for the first year or so, the service is likely to lose out on some games which you'll be able to pick up on PlayStation, Xbox, or PC. If Stadia sticks around of course this may eventually change and it could become the norm to see games being launched on Stadia alongside all these other platforms.
For now, the games which will be there to purchase, or play as part of the subscription's free games that are going to be included on a regular basis, will potentially be just a fraction of the new games coming out elsewhere. Yes, Google is probably working on securing as many partnerships as it can for future titles both new and old.
It's already shown that it's working with some of the gaming industry's biggest publishers including Bungie, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Bethesda, 2K, SEGA, Warner Bros., Square Enix and more, but there are many more out there, and it might be naive to think that all of them are willing to hop on the Stadia bandwagon before getting assurances that their games will be worth putting on the platform.
The good thing on this front is that the first set of publishers and developers that Stadia does have on board actually are some of the biggest globally, emphasizing on the word biggest. Square Enix, Electronic Arts, and Bethesda are just three of those that are included, and their names likely hold a lot of weight with other publishers that are still big but likely smaller than themselves.
This fact might be a big help to Stadia if it ever runs into any roadblocks with enticing partners, and the more partners Stadia has the more games it has. The more games it has the more enticing the service becomes to consumers. You get the picture. Stadia needs games, and lots of them, if it's going to stay around for quite some time.
This is where partnering with companies like Bungie, Ubisoft, and Bethesda for Destiny 2, the Division 2, and Elder Scrolls Online respectively was a smart move. These are all games which are going to continue being updated.
Take for Instance Destiny 2. The "Action MMO" as Bungie will now be referring to it is going to be getting a new expansion in September, just a couple of months before Stadia launches, and it'll be available for Stadia Pro subscribers along with the Destiny 2 access. It also just launched a new season of content for the current annual pass, so there's already new stuff to do in-game for those that are already playing.
Destiny 2's Shadowkeep expansion is also getting its own annual pass that will span throughout 2020, meaning there will be a metric ton of gameplay content for Stadia subscribers to chew on. Elder Scrolls Online is getting a new expansion this year as well and the Division 2 is a brand new game with additional content on the way for at least the next year or two.
With just three different games Google has set Stadia up for users to have something to play for two to three years. If partnerships between Stadia and the publishers that are putting out those games remains strong, then you can probably expect any future games in those franchises to come to Stadia down the line when the time comes.
There's one publisher you don't see in Stadia's lineup of publishers at the moment – Activision, which publishes Call of Duty, one of the best-selling game franchises globally. Call of Duty has consistently been in the top charts for game sales every year for around the past decade.
Although Forbes lists 2018's best selling game as Red Dead Redemption 2 (coming from Rockstar, one of Stadia's confirmed publisher partners) Activision's Call of Duty Black Ops 4 was right behind it, and the next game in the franchise which is set to be a reboot of the original Call of Duty Modern Warfare comes out this year.
Activision would be a smart as well as big pull for Stadia when it comes to securing partnerships, as it could mean bringing one of the most popular game franchises to the platform if it were to do so.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare is officially launching on October 25 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and because it launches before Stadia, the game could technically be available for Google's game streaming service if it's able to secure a deal with Activision to offer the game there too.
Google did mention that the games it confirmed today as launch titles was only the first wave of games which will launch with the Stadia platform, so there may still be hope that history's most popular first-person shooter will be in the hands of Stadia subscribers at some point before or soon after the service is available. For now, there's no confirmation or even any mention that Call of Duty fans will be able to utilize Stadia as a platform to play the latest CoD titles.
With that said, Stadia does appear to have a good base of games lined up for players to dive into, and only time will tell if the games it has lined up for availability within the first year or so of its launch will be enough to keep deals rolling in and keep the service going strong.