Stadia users weren’t the only people stunned to learn that Google would shut down the cloud gaming service; developers creating games for the platform were also amazed.
Olde Skuul had intended to launch Luxor Evolved on Stadia Pro on November 1st and even scheduled to meet with Google on Friday to confer the release plan. But, unfortunately, that isn’t transpiring now.
Heineman was just one of multiple who was surprised. “We were having marketing discussions just last week,” Brandon Sheffield, creative director at Necrosoft Games, said in an email.
Necrosoft was operating on Hyper Gunsport for Stadia Pro. “They released a new update two days ago. So it’s heartbreaking all around, as I think the platform was earning good traction.” Others shared their frustrations on Twitter.
Stadia’s sudden shutdown could have a significant impact on developers. The platform never gained critical mass, so developers probably didn’t earn too much by delivering their games there. But they likely relied on it as one of many areas where people could recreate their titles. And because Google has already shut off business in the Stadia store, developers can’t make money from trading their games during the last months of the service’s life.
Google intends to refund all Stadia hardware and software buys so that consumers will get some money back. Developers may also be obtaining some form of reimbursement, though it’s less clear what they can expect.
On Friday, Olde Skuul’s Twitter account stated that Google is performing to “make it right.” In addition, Heineman says a Stadia representative came to her about reimbursing the studio for expansion costs paid on porting the Stadia version of Luxor Evolved. Olde Skuul also had Stadia-exclusive features designed for the game but is now permitted to implement them on other venues.
Heineman and Sheffield were looking ahead to establishing Stadia Pro, partly because Google shared revenue from subscriptions with developers. While Sheffield tells Hyper Gunsport will be available on many platforms, “Stadia was a pillar for us because we knew by launching into Pro we’d get a significant fragment of revenue, enough to spend our dev costs back all by itself.”
For Olde Skuul, being unable to pitch on Stadia won’t sink the studio. “I was only expecting to break even on Stadia,” Heineman said. “We were realistic that we might have made $10,000 profit tops on the Stadia version.”
Another aspect of Stadia’s shutdown is that the few exclusives on the forum will be unplayable, like Q-Games’ PixelJunk Raiders.
Hughes stated that the company expects to bring the game to other platforms in the future and is open to functioning with publishing partners to make that happen. However, Necrosoft’s original Gunsport remains a Stadia exclusive and “might go down with the ship,” Sheffield said.
Some companies are investigating ways to let their Stadia clients keep playing in some way. For example, hitman developer IO Interactive tweeted Friday, “we are looking into ways for you to continue your Hitman experience on other platforms.” Likewise, Ubisoft will let you transfer your Stadia purchases to PC. But smaller developers and publishers may not be able to offer the same sorts of perks to their Stadia players.
And at least for Sheffield, losing Stadia means losing a positive community. “For whatever reason, because Stadia was so maligned by the players who didn’t play it, the actual Stadia players were almost like… apologetically nice,” he said.
“They gave any new game that came out a try, they were supportive of devs and each other, and in general, somehow the platform cultivated one of the nicest, least toxic player groups I’ve seen on any platform. So we wanted to release the game on Stadia out of appreciation for supporting the original game as much as they did.”