One of the major issues that worked against Stadia from the start was Google’s failure to secure blockbuster exclusives for the cloud gaming service, which it will shut down in January.
People could play Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077, and Destiny 2 on the platform, but those games are all available elsewhere. As it turns out, Google may have passed up the opportunity to have an exclusive title from one of gaming’s biggest names.
According to 9to5 Google, Hideo Kojima was once working on a Stadia-only sequel to Death Stranding, which debuted on PlayStation in 2019 and later on PC. Asynchronous multiplayer is present in Death Stranding.
Other players may be able to use ladders, roads, and other items you place in the world. However, the planned follow-up was said to be a completely single-player game, which could be why Google canceled the project.
The game, described as an episodic horror title, was canceled by Google after the first mockups were seen in 2020, according to the report. Phil Harrison, Stadia’s vice president and general manager, is said to have made the final decision to cancel the project.
For what it’s worth, Kojima claimed in a May 2020 interview that one of his projects had recently been canceled.
Google reportedly abandoned the project because it believed there was no longer a market for single-player games.
Notably, CD Projekt Red recently announced that Cyberpunk 2077 (again, released on Stadia) has sold 20 million copies in less than two years. Death Stranding had sold over 5 million copies by mid-2021.
The lack of major exclusives was far from the only issue that contributed to Stadia’s demise. A dubious business model and an apparent hurried rollout didn’t help, nor did Google’s reputation for ruthlessly killing off its own products.
Despite having excellent game streaming technology and some ardent fans, Stadia never took off as Google had hoped.
The platform will be shut down on January 18th, and all hardware and software purchases will be refunded (except for Pro subscriptions). Ubisoft is working on a way to give Stadia purchasers access to PC versions of its games.
The news of Stadia’s demise caught developers off guard, from giants like Bungie’s Destiny 2 studio to indie studios whose titles were supposed to hit the now-defunct Stadia store in the coming weeks.
According to Axios, it’s unclear whether Google has a broad plan to reimburse studios for costs they expected to recoup after releasing their games on Stadia.
There are also concerns about the impact of Stadia’s closure on game preservation. While Google did not secure any AAA exclusives, Stadia does have some indie games that are not available anywhere else.
Meanwhile, some are urging Google to enable the Stadia Controller’s Bluetooth capabilities. The argument is that if people can use the controller on other platforms more easily, the gamepad will be less likely to become e-waste.
For Stadia games, the controller connects directly to WiFi to reduce lag. It can also be connected to devices via a USB-C cable.
According to the game’s star, Norman Reedus, Kojima is working on a Death Stranding sequel. In June, it was also revealed that Kojima had teamed up with Xbox Game Studios for his next title. Microsoft’s cloud technology will power the game.