I did kind of get Apple iPhone 2007 vibes from the Google Stadia announcement. Maybe Sony PlayStation will go the way of Sony Ericsson next gen? and Nintendo will be Nokia? With Amazon and others to follow, the biggest change gaming has ever seen does seem to be coming.
Or maybe it’ll crash and burn, for this to take off I still think we need at least 5G (or similarly speedy wireless tech) to be widespread. I can’t even watch game trailers on the Switch eShop (sort those Wi-Fi radios out on the next one Nintendo) with my home Internet speeds.
Following the announcement, and the plans in the works around Microsoft’s Game Pass/xCloud, next gen PlayStation Now, and whatever Amazon, Apple, and other start-ups are cooking up I was wondering what the economics of this switch to streaming will mean for developers. Take an indie studio like Heart Machine, if Hyperlight Drifter is across all these £10 (or whatever) a month subscription services, will they just get paid whenever someone plays the game? Spotify style, or time invested?
Or maybe you’ll still buy the games like you do movies on Google Play? If it’s the subscription model I can see these studios being decimated by this shift from hard sales, in the same way independent musicians have been by people moving to streaming from buying albums. 0.01p per play is a massive pay cut from £15 one-off, and as many bands have discovered the ‘potential’ volume increase in gamers doesn’t cover the difference. Or maybe 20 million people will just start playing Celeste… Does GameCentral have any thoughts on how that will shake out?
GC: It’s a very good question, and one impossible to answer because Google didn’t say a word about how any of this is to be paid for. But we speculated, in our opinion piece on Stadia, that smaller games may well end up with a raw deal, for the reasons you outline.