Google Stadia: Early Signs Point to an Absolutely Stacked Roster of Games
Google's plan to dethrone the console giants is starting with some excellent titles.
Stadia, Google’s cloud gaming platform, wants to dethrone console giants like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Instead of requiring gamers to buy pricy hardware to play their favorite titles, the newly announced Stadia wants to give them access to a library of games they can play on any device they already own.
But there’s a lot left to do before that exciting vision becomes a reality.
Platforms like Netflix attract hundreds of millions of movie-buffs with an ever-changing roster of movies and shows. If Google wants to be the Netflix of gaming, it will need to not only lure gamers in but get them to stay by providing that sense of novelty. Even a great roster of games will get old after a while, though it looks like Google is laying the groundwork to deliver on this.
During Stadia’s unveiling at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco Tuesday, the company announced partnerships with two major game developers and an array of game engine and software companies. Teaming up with developers is crucial for ensuring that Stadia not only launches with a list of premium titles already available on consoles, but can deliver on the promise of continuing to push out newer, more sophisticated games into the future.
Based on the partners Google Stadia has recruited so far, and what we know about the current roster, this looks achievable.
“We’ve shipped over a hundred development kits already,” Phil Harrison, the head of Stadia, told Polygon. “We’ve got thousands of creatives already underway. So you’ll see a pretty amazing lineup come June.”
Here are the games that could be available on Stadia as soon as this summer, and what titles might make sense for releases further down the line:
Stadia Games: Three Confirmed Titles
Stadia has already announced its partnership with Id Software, and revealed that the science fiction-horror shooter Doom Eternal will be one of the first major games to launch on the service. Id’s executive producer Marty Stratton stated that it will support 4K resolution, HDR, and 60fps gameplay.
When Doom Eternal was originally announced, it was supposed to be headed for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. But at Stadia’s announcement, Stratton said it a few weeks for Id to optimize the game for Google’s new platform, suggesting that other game developers could do the same.
Google also confirmed that Dylan Cuthbert’s Q-Games will be creating a title centered around Stadia’s “state share” feature, which lets users start playing a game straight from YouTube. No details were mentioned, but this could be first Stadia-exclusive game that will go into development.
Q-Games works closely with both Nintendo and Sony and is best known of its PixelJunk series, The Tomorrow Children, and Star Fox Command. The PixelJunk franchise in particular features a variety of multiplayer and co-op mini games, from racing games to platform shooters. Their Stadia release could feature a racing or shooting game that uses YouTube as a lobby to let players either watch a live match or jump in and play.
Finally, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will almost certainly be available on Stadia off the bat. The Ubisoft game was available for play during the Project Stream beta and was used as to demo Stadia during GDC. Since Stadia and Ubisoft have worked closely together from the get-go, it also seems very likely that the French video game company will release its coming titles on Stadia in the future.
Stadia Games: Potential Releases
Ubisoft has already indicated that the following games — due for 2019 — will make it on to Stadia when it’s released later in the year. These include:
- Trials Rising: The multiplayer motor-cross racing game was released in late February on PC and all major consoles, but would lend itself perfectly to Stadia’s “state share” feature. Users could watch a race play out and then grab their controller to join the action.
- Skull and Bones: Slated to launch as early as April, the naval warfare game will let players live out their pirate fantasies on the virtual high seas. It’s expect to offer single-player and multiplayer options.
- Anno 1800: The real-time strategy game is a riff on Civilization franchise and is set to be launch on April 16.
Apart from Ubisoft, Google’s partnerships with game engine companies like — Unreal, Unity, and Havok — could spur an entire roster of future, Stadia-exclusive titles.
The Unreal game engine was used to develop online games like, Fortnie, DC Universe Online, and Unreal Tournament 3. It was also the backbone of classic single-player games including, Gears of War and BiosShock. Harrison said that the service could one day enable custom-made battle royale games with thousand of players in each round. Unreal software is the right platform to make that become a reality.
Game engines function as toolkits for game developers to easily create whole worlds, characters, and scenarios. Think of them like giant 3D-rendering sandboxes where designers can let their imagination run wild.
The long term plan is to leverage these tools to attract independent developers to create titles specially for Stadia. This would effectively make Stadia its own publisher, just like how Sony released exclusive games for the PS4 like God of War and Spider-Man.
Stadia is still in its very early days, and its announcement left many questions unanswered, including notably the price and release date. But what it did make clear was that Google has laid the foundation to begin building out a gaming empire.