The younger brother to Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, Stadia dared to be different at a time of great change for the world.
Released a few months before the world was turned upside down, Stadia is an experiment. A means to show us all what the future of gaming will look like. It’s doubted more than it is loved, yet for daring to be different we have to admire them.
Stadia offers users a gateway to premium experiences such as CyberPunk and Resident Evil: Village through a Cloud-based console, at a fraction of the install cost. Despite this, the biggest question remains unanswered: Is Google Stadia profitable?
Is Stadia Making Money?
That is a difficult question to answer, as Google is not exactly sharing this information. Typing into Google, ‘Is Stadia profitable’, brings up discussion boards from Reddit that were written over a year ago.
Anecdotally we can say that, as per the Reddit boards, Stadia is most likely posting a loss right now. The old guard is burning strong, with gold easier to come by than a new PS5.
Stadia arrived at the party early. This is the direction that consoles and games will move down, but as we know, change takes time. People will not suddenly burn their bridges with habits of the past. Disc drives will remain popular for the next decade. Stadia will come to the forefront but it will not be doing so anytime soon.
Google wanted to be first and they have certainly achieved that, spending the first year and a half tweaking the offering. From creating their own studio to moving to premium experiences from anywhere at any time with a greatly reduced install cost.
Stadia will make a profit if Google is able to hold its nerve for long enough. The longer it remains ‘on the shelf‘, the longer it has to change the perception that the plug will be pulled.
‘Starting this month, any new games added to the Stadia Pro library will earn monthly revenue based on engagement’Stadia Pro Revenue Share, The Gamer
Google has described the move as ‘industry leading’. It is certainly bold and some are in favour. Eddie Lee, the founder of Funktronic Labs, whose game Wave Break debuted on Stadia last year, says that he’s always in favour of these “pro-developer revenue-sharing models.”
Yet there are others who do not approve. “If your title is linear, narrative, and short, you have very little incentive to participate on that platform,” Futter says. “This is going to cause many small indie devs to abandon the platform entirely.”
Whilst we do not know how the new revenue-sharing model will go, one thing is for certain: Google is looking to set trends. They are looking to be the first, and whether right or wrong, they want to be first to the dance.
Whether they succeed or not is up in the air, but nearly two years later, they have an offering that has a niche. The possibility of long-term success is there.
Google Stadia Has a Niche
- Do you have a spare £500 for a PlayStation 5 and a game/controller?
- No? Well, you are not alone in that answer.
Many of us struggle to find £100, let alone £500 but we make it work as we love video games.
Google Stadia offers us access to the latest titles at a fraction of the install cost. All we need is a phone/TV/Tablet/Laptop and a broadband connection. Stadia caters to what we have today.
We do not need to spend nearly a thousand pounds upgrading to 4k and buying a console for £500. All you need is £90. That fee is for the controller and then you can use whatever device you have lying around at home.
The games are as expensive and none are physical but realistically, the world is moving to digital faster than you can say ‘Google’. We can fight it but change is here. Much like those who will cling on to their petrol cars, change is here.
We need to get on board or risk being left behind.
Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime. He was unappreciated whilst he was alive, but years later, his name is revered. The same could be said for Google Stadia in ten years’ time.
If Google stays the course then people will begin to believe. Right now we all have that one centralised thought when it comes to Stadia…
When will Google pull the plug?
Google Lens was pioneered by Google and subsequently, let go within a few years. It did not take off and the plug was pulled. Google has a history of the test, adapt, move on. Most of the time this leads down a new route and then eventually, a successful course of action is found. YouTube made no money for the first few years after Google purchased it, but just look at it now!
Stadia is the future and the longer Google invests in it, the more confidence consumers will have. Google was first and as soon as the next generation of Sony and Microsoft are revealed, Google will reap the rewards.
A Final Thought
Google has more in the way of cash reserves than you and I would earn in ten lifetimes. They can take the ‘hit’ in the short term in order to build long-term trust and prove that this is the route that games will take over the next decade.
Physical media is dying. Change is here and it is as inevitable as the rising of the sun. We need to adapt along with it or risk hooking our wagon to the next Dreamcast.
Stadia is most likely running at a loss, but its day will come. As long as Google stays the course they will find success and long-term connectivity. I believe in Stadia and if a new controller arrives in the future, then more will flock.
It won’t happen overnight but in the long term, this is the future of gaming.
Written by Ben Shelley
Originally published on Medium at July 25