Technical issues (e.g., input latency) aside, Google Stadia is struggling with a major problem right now, and that’s the lack of a comprehensive library. The streaming service currently offers a grand total of 28 games, which is kind of pathetic in a world of competitors that offer hundreds – or even thousands – of titles.
A report from Business Insider has shed light on why Stadia’s library looks like a virtual ghost town. According to a few developers that the publication spoke to, the root of the problem lies with money, or the lack of it: Google is allegedly being cheap and not offering enough cash to make Stadia ports worthwhile.
“We were approached by the Stadia team,” said one indie developer. “Usually with that kind of thing, they lead with some kind of offer that would give you an incentive to go with them,” but the incentive “was kind of non-existent,” they said. “That’s the short of it.”
Others were a bit more blunt. “It’s that there isn’t enough money there,” said a publishing executive, who claimed that Google’s offer was “so low that it wasn’t even part of the conversation.”
Of course, money isn’t the only incentive. A large user base is attractive, too, but unfortunately, Google doesn’t seem to have that either with Stadia. (The company hasn’t shared any sales numbers, which suggests that the platform isn’t doing all that well.)
“There are platforms you want to be on because they have an audience and you want to reach that audience,” noted one developer. “That’s what Steam is, or that’s what [Nintendo] Switch is. They have big groups on their platforms, and you want to be with those groups so they can play your games.”
Another concern is Google’s history of product abandonment. Killed by Google – a site that compiles every app, service, and piece of hardware that’s been terminated by the company – has nearly 200 entries listed. Stadia could definitely be joining that page, possibly in the near future.
“…with Google’s history, I don’t even know if they’re working on Stadia in a year,” worried one developer. “That wouldn’t be something crazy that Google does. It’s within their track record.”
Stadia fans may want to stay optimistic, however, as Google has promised that plenty of games are coming to the service this year. Support for modern features, such as 4K gaming and wireless gameplay on the Web through the Stadia controller, are also planned.
“Looking at our upcoming lineup, we are tracking more than 120 games coming to Stadia in 2020, and are targeting more than ten games in the first half of this year alone that will be only available on Stadia when they launch,” wrote an employee on the official community blog.