During the recent Stadia keynote at the Google for Games Developer Summit (as reported by Gamasutra), Google shared new policies that it’s enacting for its cloud-based subscription service that are geared towards making the platform more developer-friendly.
The first of these, frankly, is a little concerning. Google has confirmed that going forward, all developers who choose to make their games free on the paid Stadia Pro subscription will get 70% of the revenue generated by Stadia Pro, though this is something that will be decided based on playtime. In other words, the more a game is being paid, the more a developer gets paid, so if a game is being played more, the developer is going to get a larger share of that 70% piece of the Stadia Pro revenue pie.
It’s a decision that seems a little misguided, honestly, because if a game on the scale of, say, Red Dead Redemption 2 or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey should be made available via Stadia Pro, it is pretty much guaranteed to make more money than smaller indie titles.
On the other hand, another change that Google is enacting that should be much better received is an increase in the revenue developers and publishers get from the sales of their own games. Starting in Q4 2021, developers will get 85% of all revenue that their games generate on Stadia, as opposed to the 70% industry-wide standard on most other platforms.
That said, there are a few caveats here as well. Similar to Android’s Play Store and iOS’ App Store, Google is putting a cap of $3 million on the total revenue generated, and if that cap is passed, the revenue cut will go back down to 70%, with Google taking 30% of the share. Additionally, this revenue cut policy is only going to be in place for a limited time- from Q1 2021 to the end of 2023. It will also only apply to “newly signed games”, which presumably means that games that are already available on Stadia will not get the same treatment.
While the likes of Steam, Nintendo, and PlayStation all abide by the 70/30 industry-wide standard revenue sharing model, different models have been become quite commonplace of late. The first notable platform to adopt the 88/12 model was, of course, the Epic Games Store, but recently, Microsoft also put the that model in place for the Windows Store on PC, while reports have suggested that they could be doing the same with Xbox as well.