It’s wildly recognized by now that Google Stadia hasn’t had the launch it may have wanted. Failing to meet some of its launch promise, Stadia has largely failed to garner the passionate user base it likely needs to stay viable in the long run. One of the ways Stadia could turn itself around is by expanding its library of games, but it seems that publishers are hesitant to expand onto the platform.
Based on a report from Business Insider, Google Stadia has largely been unable to attract the indie developers to their platform. While triple-A studio support has seemingly been there – highly anticipated titles like Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077 will be making their way to Google Stadia – indie developers haven’t been as excited to jump onto the platform.
While more well-known titles are a huge draw, indie games often make a console. The Nintendo Switch is known as the indie device, with games like Hollow Knight, Celeste, Shovel Knight, Cuphead and Undertale all gracing its storefront. These indie games don’t necessarily make or break a platform, but their inclusion onto the platform definitely drives sales for both the game and the platform. One only needs to look at Hollow Knight. The game did so well on the Switch that Team Cherry is now launching the next game, Silk Song, on the Switch even though Hollow Knight didn’t start there.
Given that indie developers often have less resources than their triple-A counterparts, its common practice for companies to provide incentives in order to spur developers to develop for the platform. Stadia, however, approached indie developers with an offer that “was kind of non-existent” according to the report. This practice was not singular, but rather echoed by different developers.
Although the incentives do help, some indie developers could develop for a platform given its user base and general platform support. Google Stadia, unfortunately, has not given confidence to developers given its current tepid support from both fans and the Stadia Team. Additionally, Google’s history of developing, then subsequently dropping, platforms is an issue for these developers. As one put it to Business Insider, “I don’t even know if they’re [Google] working on Stadia in a year.”
While it is true that Stadia is less than a couple months old and can improve, reports like these point to a lack of clarity in direction and vision. Stadia will need to convince these indie developers, and the public, that it can be a viable platform soon if it wants to become a staple in the gaming industry.