Also, the Stadia team was enthusiastic for each project and particularly dazzled indies. Even if the developers realized that this wasn’t the healthiest place (Google’s decision to close its in-house studios in February 2021 was worrying to say the least), it was hard not to get caught up in the promise of good money and promotions. Opportunities Google can offer.
Some quarterbacks can recoup at least some of their costs. Google reached out to a few, but not all, of the developers WIRED spoke to. Heineman said that company representatives asked about the budget they used to develop the Stadia version of their game and they were considering paying for this work. “If Google doesn’t pay us or refund us, it will hurt us financially, but it won’t kill us,” he says. “But I’m sure other developers out there will die if they don’t get a refund or get their money back.”
Google did not respond to multiple requests for comment on how it plans to compensate developers or handle older versions. The company instead referred WIRED to blog posts that addressed customer concerns at the time of the announcement. Many developers are still in the dark waiting to hear directly from the company. The developers behind games that were once exclusive to Stadia, PixelJunk Raiders, is now looking for new publishers to protect their games from complete extinction. Tequila Works, another developer that once held a special title, announced this week that it’s bringing its game. Gilded to other platforms.
Google’s efforts with Stadia now mirror those of Amazon: a major tech company that has been impatiently turning its wallet into gaming for the first time through the years it takes to produce original, successful games. “There’s only room for one Fortnite and one World of Warcraft”says Sheffield. The video game industry is worth billions of dollars, but it’s also not a get-rich-quick scheme.
On January 18, 2023, Stadia will join the gaming ephemera graveyard, an area that is rapidly filling with old technology and online gaming. But Heineman says he hopes to talk Google into preserving the service’s offerings for historical purposes. He adds that if the developers could swap out their test kits, they could create covered servers that Google wouldn’t have to maintain, essentially creating a digital museum. So far, Heineman says, Google is “open to ideas.” Fans are already getting creative with other ways to use the Stadia controller.
“Most companies take everything with them when they fail,” Heineman says, pointing to the obsolete cloud gaming service OnLive and the short-lived Sega Dreamcast, which shut down in 2015. “We want to at least ensure that Stadia exists beyond people’s memories.”
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