Stadia, the cloud gaming platform from Google, has shared details today regarding the upcoming launches of nine games. The titles include an assortment of indie games like Killer Queen Black and Kaze and the Wild Masks as well as EA's FIFA 21.
Turbulent times — The news is a welcome change following Google's sudden announcement last week that it was shuttering its internal game studios after just a year, and without actually releasing any games... or creating a mascot to represent it. Many gamers had been wary of Google's foray into high-end gaming specifically over its track record of abandoning projects. The unexpected closure of studios was viewed as confirmation that Google couldn't be trusted to maintain the platform, and therefore gamers — and publishers — shouldn't invest in Stadia.
There are various theories why Google killed the studios — game development is costly and timelines can stretch as far as a decade; maybe the company lost confidence in the titles it commissioned. The company said at the time, though, that it was still committed to developing Stadia with plans to add over 100 new games from partners over the rest of 2021. It also said it might license its streaming technology to publishers for use elsewhere.
Today's announcement includes launch dates for six games including the adventure-platformer Shantae: Risky's Revenge, coming February 23, and Judgement, launching April 23. Three others including the well-reviewed Killer Black Queen are listed as "coming soon." Stadia has long suffered from a weak catalog of games.
The full list of announced titles is as follows:
- Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition - Director's Cut [February 23, 2021]
- Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut [February 23, 2021]
- It came from space and ate our brains [March 2, 2021]
- FIFA 21 [March 17, 2021]
- Kaze and the Wild Masks [March 26, 2021]
- Judgment [April 23, 2021]
- Killer Queen Black [TBC]
- Street Power Football [TBC]
- Hellpoint [TBC]
Signs of life — Besides announcing some new releases, Stadia is making progress elsewhere. It has finally started delivering on features its customers have wanted (or it promised) since the platform was announced in 2019, like the ability to share save states so people can instantly jump into a specific game experience with the click of a link. The service demonstrates impressive performance — Cyberpunk 2077 shines on Stadia, meaning anyone can get a great experience without shelling out hundreds or thousands for powerful hardware, or impossible-to-find GFX cards.
Unlocking gaming for anyone and decoupling it from hardware is the real promise of cloud gaming, and for Google, it could be a lucrative new revenue stream.
We already knew that some of the games discussed today were coming to Stadia. But confirmation of actual release dates is a step in the right direction for Google if it wants to engender more trust among gamers that it won't suddenly shut down the platform and take the games they've paid for with it. Let's hope it gets some more AAA games, though. Indies are fun and all, but Google is up against Microsoft and its xCloud service that's jam-packed with popular titles.