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Announced during a Stadia Keynote at the Google for Games Developers Summit, this new change will give developers a cut of its revenue based on playtime.
Beginning this month, Stadia has pledged 70 per cent of Stadia Pro’s revenue to developers who launch their games as free titles on the service, “based upon engagement for active claimable Stadia Pro titles”.
Essentially, developers will earn more depending on how much their game is played – measured in session days.
But this model has already come under fire for encouraging developers to work on replay value rather than shorter, one-off games.
I feared this day.
I warned about this for years and feel no one really took it seriously.
Devs being paid based on playtime is the true horror of the subscription-based future – it's the death of creativity, of shorter experiences. I hate this with every fibre of my being. https://t.co/tcWpWCThZt
— Ryan Brown 🎮 (@Toadsanime) July 14, 2021
“The key stat for subscription-based services is engagement,” says industry expert Ryan Brown. “If you’re logging on to a multiplayer game for 8 hours a day for 2 years, that’s what matters.”
“A single-player 5 hour experience that you finish in one sitting becomes next to worthless to these platforms.”
It’s understood that this new revenue share will be on top of up-front payment for individual titles.
However, Google Stadia also plans to implement a referral system of sorts.
Called ‘Click to Play’, new Google Stadia affiliate links will be generated for developers to encourage users to try their games on the Stadia platform. Any free trials which convert into paid subscriptions will award the developers with a $10 bonus.
Google claims that the Stadia platform “has a unique ability to generate a link to a partner’s game and provide data for how that link performs and the players it brings to Stadia and the game”.
Finally, all new games launched on Google Stadia from Q4 this year will receive an 85 per cent revenue split – as opposed to the industry standard 70 per cent, as long as the game’s developers have earned under $3 million.