Here's How Google Stadia Will Make Money

Google released its Stadia game streaming platform last month with some impressive specifications and promises. In an on-stage discussion at the GamesBeat conference in Los Angeles last this week, Google's Phil Harrison, who runs the Stadia division, said Stadia has been architectured to support a wide variety of "monetization options.”

Google Stadia Monetization

According to Harrison, Stadia platform will make money off purchases, but also via transactions and subscription options, among other things. Another way to read this is that playing a game on Stadia will not necessarily require a monthly subscription, but in the end it may be up to the developers to choose which models suit their games most.

Harrison also noted that there is no technical limitation on how the platform can implement a variety of business models. This is good news for developers desiring a kind of business model flexibility that they can't on other platforms.

Frictionless Discovery

Harrison also hinted that integration with YouTube and potentially Google messaging services will be a major advantage for the Stadia platform. In an example, he painted a picture of how someone could watch a video about a game on YouTube and then they’d be able to jump to an instance of the game at a specific point in the video.

People could also much more easily share linkable streaming games with each other via messaging platforms, which could lead to a new form of game discovery. He noted that "when a game is a link, the Internet is your store.”

There could be some friction if a user would have to buy the complete game every time they saw a Stadia game link, but the experience could become frictionless if the user has an all-you-can-play subscription, if the game is free-to-play and ad-supported, or if the shared game offers a timed trial.

Streaming Games Will Not Happen Overnight

Harrison is confident that game streaming is the future of gaming, in part because it gives access to high-end games to anyone with a decent internet connection and in part due to other advantages, such as developers being able to push game changes to every player, all at once.

However, he also warned that this change to streaming games is not going to happen overnight:

“It's not going to be a switch that we flip and suddenly we're all in this utopia of cloud-based gaming. It is going to take a while to get to the scale we think we can get to."

Part of the transition will be about developers getting used to developing games that are cloud-centric as opposed to device centric. Google itself may also have to go through some launch as well as growing pains with the platforms, as past streaming gaming services have proven quite fickle, often breaking the gaming experience for the player due to high connection delays, interruptions and so on.

Harrison said that Google will provide more details about the platform this summer, including more information about how players will be able to buy and access Stadia games, as well as details about the games themselves.

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  • compprob237
    They'll never solve the latency problem unless Quantum Entanglement gets widely used. There's a reason this has been tried by so many large companies and has gone nowhere.
  • Frag Maniac
    After watching the Stadia announcement stage demo, this is what I had to say.

    (Stage demo starts at the 1:35 mark)

    I have to be skeptical about this, and not just from a tech standpoint.

    1. While I know game streaming services have existed and struggled through latency problems for a while, and that no one has better infrastructure than Google to support it, there were at least two points in the stream that showed severe image breakup. So you have to wonder if this catches on like wildfire if more and more people will suffer the same problem while playing games once the gaming audience grows.

    2. This service will no doubt require uninterrupted FO lines from source to your home to work well, and a lot of places in the US still don't have FO. Even in the case where your service provider has FO, that doesn't necessarily mean the apt building one may live in does. So this could potentially become a have to be financially stable enough to be an owner not a renter thing.

    3. There was literally NO info given on speculated game prices and required ISP speed, and in my searching I can't find ANY FAQ on Stadia. I've seen various services tack on a "free" Google Play trial as a selling point, only to find it's just a link that takes you to nothing but various movies and games Google is trying to sell you, so excuse me if I'm skeptical about what this will cost.

    4. They claim you will be more secure playing strictly within the Stadia network vs the "public internet", yet they're quick to use the phrase "all over the internet" when referencing places to buy Stadia supported titles. I've 2 years back to back during holidays had the common Google Redirect bug, where the links it generates take you to sites that have zero to do with what you're searching for.

    5. It's common knowledge the most used platform for alternative browsers is Chromium, but many don't know the most popular of them that is a secure browser, Epic Privacy Browser, also doesn't use Google, or Chrome's tracking your URL inputs, or even Google's servers. Why, because they are not exactly secure. So I have to be very skeptical about this claimed gaming security.

    6. What about overly awkward security measures? One thing I can't stand about Google is it's the LEAST VPN friendly search engine out there, and the only way around those oft used bot checks is to either spend several minutes clicking this and that picture with a car or street light, or temporarily disable your VPN to access their search engine, which compromises your security.

    7. If it works as well as advertised, this could in a short period of time put most gaming hardware manufacturers out of business, and become a monopoly in the process. That's a HELL a lot of power to give one company whom could then pretty much charge whatever they want for the service. Out of work HW manufacturers could form a coalition to hack this service.

    8. Google has non existent customer service. Good luck getting a hold of anyone, or receiving anything but a vague email response of "we'll look into this", IF you get a response at all. And good luck getting help from the game devs, as they'll likely refer you to Google. I used to have respect for Jade Raymond (54:00), but since working at Ubi she's sold out to corporate gaming.

    9. Image quality is one of my biggest concerns. You can't just toss out "1080p" and "4K" and expect everyone to ooh and ahh. We all know services like this use compression for efficiency, so that 1080p and 4k you actually see onscreen won't likely look as good as those resolutions from direct play of the game on decent hardware. When they keep using the mantra "on any hardware", you can likely expect it to look like it would on mediocre HW and settings.

    10. Perhaps the biggest concern is the games have to be ported to Linux. Since Valve, a pretty wealthy company with expert coders whom had lots of manufacturer and developer support for Steam Box, already tried that with worse performance on the converted to Linux versions than on the original Windows versions, it seems a fool hearty venture even for Google.

    That said, if successful, this could very well become the new streaming version of Steam. I know a lot of people rave about Steam sale prices, but in reality it's mostly only older games that go on big sales, meaning you have to be VERY patient to make use of them. Every time I look at Steam sales they are either games I already own, or obscure titles I have no interest in. Price wise I've not seen anything from Google that encourages me though. Whenever it comes to selling other people's content, they if anything have fairly high prices. And their YouTube Red and YouTube TV services are a joke. They make it sound like you get a lot of extra content with YT Red, but in reality it's only ad free. YouTube TV costs more than it should when you compare it to other TV streaming services.

    If Steam was enough to make Valve so filthy rich they pretty much became lazy by it and nearly retired from game development, you can imagine what Stadia will do to the much greedier Google. They DO however have some big hurdles to overcome, not the least of which is porting to Linux. It's something that proved very time consuming and not as effective performance wise as Valve had hoped. Too many red flags here for me.
  • esco_sid
    10. Perhaps the biggest concern is the games have to be ported to Linux. Since Valve, a pretty wealthy company with expert coders whom had lots of manufacturer and developer support for Steam Box, already tried that with worse performance on the converted to Linux versions than on the original Windows versions, it seems a fool hearty venture even for Google.

    This might have been true a few years back but you should do some research on this one where it is currently.
    Linux is actually the perfect platform to do this in if you are going to be doing it in the cloud. ( most of the cloud runs on linux hvm virtualized instances )