When It Comes To The Cloud, Exclusives Are Irrelevant.

Since the closure of Stadia Games & Entertainment (SG&E), a concern for some players in the community has been that a lack of exclusive games could lead to the closure of Stadia itself. After all, Xbox has exclusives, Playstation has exclusives and so does Nintendo.

So how can a gaming platform survive without its own exclusive game?

Well, people forget that a cloud platform isn’t a console. It’s different. So the rules are different too!

Exclusive games are one of the main deciding factors when it comes to choosing which console to buy. Of course, there are many other reasons people choose the console they buy. Design, how the controller feels in the hands, load speeds, UI etc. Ultimately, though, the two main reasons will be what games can I play, and (less so as more multiplayer games adapt cross play) what do my friends own.

Exclusives serve the purpose of persuading you to choose one console over the other. You want to play The Last Of Us? Buy a Playstation. Want to play Halo? Buy an Xbox. Of course once you have made your decision and begin to play on the console that you settled on, you’re locked in. You’re tied to that specific console and everything that involves. Not only does the company behind your console of choice claw back some of the development expenses from purchases of that exclusive game itself, they will also earn money from every game that you purchase, every accessory, every month’s subscription. The investment in those AAA games will pay off for them in the long run.

The big investment brings players to the platform.

It’s not a small feat to make a AAA exclusive. It takes a long time and a lot of money. Sometimes going in to the 100s of millions dollars. But over time, that money is made back on the success of the entire platform they locked you into.

So why is the cloud different?

A selling point of Stadia, from the start, is that you can play on the devices you already own. In this sense, it is a bit like the largest and most successful gaming platforms around right now – iOS and Android! Where you play games on a device/screen you probably have for other reasons – there aren’t really any first party exclusives on those platforms either.

Yes for the best experience it is suggested that you buy a Stadia controller and a Chromecast, but they aren’t a necessity. In essence, there is no lock in with cloud gaming. There’s no investment made to begin playing on Stadia and therefore nothing to keep you there.

Look at the free to play games. If you just wanted to play PUBG you can sign up in a Chrome browser, connect a controller and you’re away! You never have to spend a penny on the platform. Neither Google or Stadia benefit. So imagine if you will, Stadia didn’t shut down SG&E and continued to work on a cloud exclusive. Tomorrow they launch that exclusive to great reviews and critical acclaim. It is widely regarded as the best game ever. It retails at £70 in the UK.

Given that there is technically zero barrier to entry to play the game (excluding the upfront cost of the game itself), how many copies of the game do you think Stadia would have to sell to make back the cost of making such a game? Remember, with Stadia there is no barrier to entry and maybe more importantly, zero lock in. Millions of players could pick up the exclusive and play the crap out of it and never return to Stadia after completing the game – never to spend another penny on the platform or any of the peripherals.

Put simply, it is a huge investment, with very little guaranteed return.

Still think that Stadia needs to hurry and make an exclusive?



Pedder is a Dad of 3, a Tech Geek, a Video Maker, and a Casual streamer. Follow on Twitter: @Just_Pedder, YouTube: Pedder Games and Buy Pedder a Coffee

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