Google’s cloud-based game streaming service Stadia has announced a handful of new initiatives aimed at “maximizing the return” game developers see from their Stadia titles, while bringing more players to the paid side of Stadia’s offering.
As shared under Stadia Keynote for Google for the Games Developer Summit, Google has a number of tricks up its sleeve that they believe will be mutually beneficial to game developers and Stadia as a platform, including a game-time-based cut in revenue from Stadia Pro, a player referral program, and (temporary ) changes in revenue sharing at Stadia.
The first idea, explains Stadia’s Careen Yapp in the video above, was born of one question: “How can we ensure that partners get better use of our subscription?”
As of this month, Google has promised 70 percent of Stadia Pro’s revenue to game developers who offer their games as freebies on Stadia Pro. Specifically, payment is “based on commitment to active Stadia Pro titles” and applies only to games that are new to the service. Commitment is measured in this case in session days, so developers will apparently get a larger share of that share of 70 percent, depending on how many days individual Stadia Pro players log on to their games.
Google’s second new Stadia developer program, which is likely to increase potential numbers, encourages game developers to hand out ‘Click-to-Play’ related links to potential players, and promises to pay $ 10 for each player converting from a free trial period for paid subscription. This benefit is set to go live in the first half of 2022, but judging by a slide shown during the presentation, developers will have to incur $ 500 through affiliate marketing programs before it pays off.
Stadia says that this program is a way for the team to take advantage of the platform’s unique, cloud-based features, as it “has a unique ability to generate a link to a partner’s game and provide data on how that link performs and the players it brings to Stadia. “If it sounds at least partially familiar, it’s probably because this is a more engagement-focused spin on a feature Stadia has been talking about for many years. This feature, Click-to-Play, allows players to click on a link and immediately start playing a game directly from the browser via Stadia.
With the final announcement from the main feature, Stadia follows in the footsteps of the many other platforms that are reassessing the standard revenue sharing, albeit temporarily. To achieve this, starting this 4th quarter, newly signed games at Stadia will take home 85 percent of revenue (probably compared to the industry standard 70 percent) while Google only takes 15.
However, there is a small group of reservations with the income-sharing shift.
First, and as both Apple and Google have done on mobile, only developers who earn below a certain threshold in the store front can benefit from the 85/15 split. For Stadia, the magic number is $ 3 million. After a game earns $ 3 million in revenue, the split returns to its previous state. Secondly, the 85/15 income sharing will not be forever. In addition to only applying for “recently signed games”, the offer only applies to games launched in Q4 2021, 2022 and 2023.
“This is good news from a revenue-generating perspective, but to access these new partner incentives, you must first develop your game for Stadia,” says Yapp.