Google’s plans for its game streaming service Stadia include the creation of new first-party studios and jobs all dedicated to bringing exclusive games to the streaming service.
In an interview with GameIndustry.biz, Stadia Games & Entertainment’s Jade Raymond said this would be part of her initiative to create exclusive games for Stadia in the coming months and years of the platform’s life.
“The role I’m filling as head of SG&E is building out all of the exclusive content for Stadia,” Raymond told GI.biz. “We have a plan that includes building out a few different first-party studios, and also building up the publishing org to ship exclusive content created by indie devs and other external partners.”
Google has already formed one studio, which is based in Montreal, but Raymond didn’t reveal any more details on the company or what projects it has in development.
As for what kinds of games Google wants these studios to make, Raymond said she wants whatever comes out of Google’s first-party games to be projects that use the Stadia’s cloud capabilities to exceed the limitations of other hardware, all in the name of creating something not possible on something like a PlayStation 5 or the next Xbox.
“There are a lot of things that being cloud native enables that you’re just not going to be able to see on other platforms, and I think that’s the job of first-party, to really show that off and let people imagine what those things are,” Raymond said.
Regarding what advances Stadia is capable of without the constraints of hardware, Raymond gave examples of more holistic physics, or using Google’s other tech like the Duplex AI to power NPCs in story-driven games. Right now these ideas are conceptual more than anything, as Raymond says it may take some time before a studio can really harness the tech, but Google views Stadia and its first-party initiatives as a long term investment.
“It is a long term view that Google is taking,” Raymond said. “For a big bet and a huge new IP that’s going to fully leverage the cloud, it may be several years. But we do have quite a few exclusive games in the works that will demonstrate some of the exciting things about the platform all along the path. It won’t be four years before gamers get to see the new exclusive, exciting content. There will be some coming out every year, and more and more each year.”
Historically, Raymond’s idea of what makes good first-party games is pretty consistent, especially in early years of a platform’s life. When the PlayStation 4 launched, several games from Sony’s first-party studios like Infamous: Second Son or Killzone: Shadow Fall used things like the console’s motion controls and touch pad that showcased things that weren’t on other platforms. While the fruits of these studio’s labor may be a ways off, first-party and exclusive games have been key in carving out an identity and image for other platforms, and can often be the deciding factor for people buying one system or another. For example, people who are big fans of The Last of Us know they can only get that on PlayStation consoles, but if they want something like Gears 5 they’ll have to get it on Xbox or Windows.
Stadia is set to launch next month on November 14 for people with the $129 Founder’s Edition, with a more public launch coming in the nebulous 2020 window.