If there was any doubt that Google Stadia had the ammunition to single-handedly upend the gaming industry and end the video game console as we know it, they should be laid to rest.
More than 4,000 developers have registered their interest to sign up to the Stadia Partners scheme with an eye on releasing games for the upcoming streaming platform.
As reported by PC Games Insider, Stadia technical account manager Sam Corcoran took to the stage to share the news during the Develop:Brighton conference held this week in the UK.
Short of revealing the names of interested parties, Corcoran explained the program allows developers to signal their interest, although there’s no guarantee they’ll be accepted. A strict vetting program where every application undergoes a human-led review sorts the wheat from the chaff.
Addressing would-be Stadia developers, Corcoran went on to explain that through Stadia Partners, Google can “tailor-make a support plan that will work for your title and fit with the rest of our portfolio.”
In other words, it’s a polite way of framing that Google wants the pick of the litter. Four thousand developers have Google spoiled for choice.
A further sign of this was at E3 this year, where numerous trailers for triple-A titles sported the Google Stadia logo alongside the trifecta of Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox, and the Nintendo Switch we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. Getting into bed with the right game studios is top propriety for the tech giant.
The magnitude of interest isn’t surprising. The unique stakes of the cloud development environment and a guaranteed foot in the door are powerful incentives, but the appetite for Stadia may be the harbinger of a more impactful shift: the end of console gaming as we know it.
Stadia’s success is all but guaranteed at this point. We’ve long heard cloud gaming is on the way and will revolutionize how we play games but have yet to get a tangible iteration of this long-lauded tech. Google has taken matters into its own hands to spearhead that shift.
We’d be unwise to discount Project xCloud given Xbox’s rich history and brimming catalog of games. The same applies to the surprising announcement of Sony and Microsoft joining forces to make use of the latter’s Azure network of servers. But, crucially, Stadia releases this fall.
With a year’s head start on the next-gen consoles cooked up by Sony and Microsoft, which won’t release until the end of 2020 at the earliest, Google has uniquely positioned the Stadia to make gains on the share of the market dominated until now by traditional consoles.
Sony and Microsoft have confirmed physical versions of both the PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett, and these souped-up, not to say expensive, consoles could be on the cusp of the slow journey to obsolescence. When both hit the market, they may entirely be surplus to requirement, superseded by Stadia.
The decline of traditional consoles won’t happen overnight, of that we can be sure, but this generation represents an upheaval so significant, we could be in for a changing of the guard, with Google firmly at the helm.