As part of its virtual Google for Games Developer Summit, Google today announced dramatically better financial terms for game developers. The announcements came during the Stadia keynote on day two of the show.
“Today we’re focusing solely on Stadia partners, both developers and publishers, so [there are] no cool game announcements or trailers,” Google’s Careen Yapp said. “To date, our partners have shipped more than 180 games on Stadia, and now they’re playable on more devices than ever before.”
But Stadia hasn’t been without controversy. Last year, Google halted work on internal exclusives for the service, leading to an exodus of talent, including several key hires like Jade Raymond and Kim Swift, both of whom landed at Xbox. But Google has long maintained that it intends to grow Stadia and, in my experience, it’s still superior to rival game streaming services like Microsoft Xbox Cloud Gaming and Amazon Luna.
Ms. Yapp did not address these negative events. But she did admit that Google needed to make Stadia more attractive to, and more lucrative for, its partners. And she announced the following changes:
Subscription revenue share. Starting this month, Google will share 70 percent of Stadia Pro subscription revenues with its partners on an engagement basis.
Affiliate marketing. Google is creating a new affiliate marketing program that will pay partners when players converted to paid Stadia Pro subscribers. Developers can add a “click to play” link that will get gamers into their Stadia-based games and the free Stadia Pro trial, and if they convert to the paid subscription, partners will get $10 per subscriber.
Revenue share. This is perhaps the biggest news given how app store fees have become a controversial topic in recent months: Google is expanding the share of revenues to partners from games purchased in the Stadia Store from 70 percent to 85 percent. (So it’s reducing its cut from 30 percent to 15 percent.) This new structure applies to the first $3 million in revenues generated by any Stadia title that launches between October 1 and the end 2023.