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Google Stadia slashes digital store commission to attract more developers

The cloud gaming platform will now keep just 15% of revenue from a game purchase.

An image of Google's Stadia controller and logo.

Google wants to attract game developers with more generous Stadia revenue sharing policies.

Photo: Neil Godwin/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Google is trying to attract more game makers to its Stadia service with a set of new policies aimed at letting those developers keep more of the revenue generated on the platform. The first new policy establishes a 70% revenue share for the Stadia Pro subscription service, while the second slashes the digital store commission down to 15% for the first $3 million in sales.


These should be welcome changes for game developers eager to earn more money from cloud gaming, which right now does not have a firm business model. Stadia competitors like Amazon Luna and Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming platform are still in beta, and as such only Stadia charges full price for games playable only through its platform.

The digital store commission reduction is similar to one announced by Microsoft for full game purchases through its app store on Windows, as well as the Epic Game Store. It goes into effect in October, but only for games listed in the store starting that month and through the end of 2023.

It's not clear what Google's current commission is, but a Google spokesperson told Protocol, "Stadia currently provides competitive revenue share terms with partners that matches what they typically see from other industry platforms." That suggests it is 30% and that Google will cut that figure it in half starting this fall. Google clarified that the $3 million includes "sales of full games, micro-transactions, preorders and add-on content."

The new revenue-sharing system for Stadia Pro is also unique for the game industry in the level of transparency it provides. While other subscription services often make custom deals with developers to enroll their games in monthly programs like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Games with Gold, Google is laying out its terms for all to see. That includes 70% of all Stadia Pro revenue going to publishers, with a split based on the number of session days logged by Stadia Pro subscribers.

Google is also running a new affiliate marketing program starting 2022 through its click-to-play feature, the cloud-enabled ability to jump right into a game by clicking a link. Publishers that can get a new Stadia user to follow through with a Stadia Pro free trial signup using click-to-play will receive $10 so long as that user converts to a paid subscriber at the end of the month.

All of these tactics are designed to make it easier for players to jump into Stadia and more enticing for developers to join the platform. Stadia has been struggling of late with the closure of its in-house game development division in February and the departure of some key executives, including Stadia Games & Entertainment chief Jade Raymond and more recently product head John Justice. These new policies, however, go a long way in signaling Google's desire to keep growing Stadia as a consumer product and attracting more game makers to do so.

Protocol | Fintech

Amazon wants a crypto play. Its history in payments is not encouraging.

It missed chances to be PayPal, Square and Stripe — so is this its chance to miss being Coinbase, too?

Amazon wants to be a crypto player.

Image: NurPhoto/Getty Images

The news that Amazon was hiring a lead for a new digital currency and blockchain initiative sent the price of bitcoin soaring. But there's another way to look at the news that's less bullish on bitcoin and bearish on Amazon: 13 years after Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper appeared on the internet, Amazon is just discovering cryptocurrency?

That may be a bit unkind, but the truth is sometimes unkind. And the reality is that Amazon has a long history of stumbles and missed opportunities in payments, which goes back more than two decades to the company's purchase of internet payments startup Accept.com.

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Owen Thomas

Owen Thomas is a senior editor at Protocol overseeing venture capital and financial technology coverage. He was previously business editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and before that editor-in-chief at ReadWrite, a technology news site. You're probably going to remind him that he was managing editor at Valleywag, Gawker Media's Silicon Valley gossip rag. He lives in San Francisco with his husband and Ramona the Love Terrier, whom you should follow on Instagram.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
Protocol | Enterprise

How Google Cloud plans to kill its ‘Killed By Google’ reputation

Under the new Google Enterprise APIs policy, the company is making a promise that its services will remain available and stable far into the future.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has promised to make the company more customer-friendly.

Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images 2019

Google Cloud issued a promise Monday to current and potential customers that it's safe to build a business around its core technologies, another step in its transformation from an engineering playground to a true enterprise tech vendor.

Starting Monday, Google will designate a subset of APIs across the company as Google Enterprise APIs, including APIs from Google Cloud, Google Workspace and Google Maps. APIs selected for this category — which will include "a majority" of Google Cloud APIs according to Kripa Krishnan, vice president at Google Cloud — will be subject to strict guidelines regarding any changes that could affect customer software built around those APIs.

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Tom Krazit

Tom Krazit ( @tomkrazit) is Protocol's enterprise editor, covering cloud computing and enterprise technology out of the Pacific Northwest. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET, paidContent, and GeekWire, and served as executive editor of Gigaom and Structure.

Amazon job opening points to plan to accept crypto payments

The news sparked a rally in the values of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Amazon may be planning to let customers pay for orders with cryptocurrencies.

Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Amazon is looking to hire a digital currency and blockchain expert suggesting a plan to let customers accept cryptocurrencies as payments.

The tech giant's job opening says Amazon is looking for "an experienced product leader" to help develop the company's "digital currency and blockchain strategy and roadmap" Amazon is looking for product leader with expertise in blockchain, distributed ledger, central bank digital currencies and cryptocurrency.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Protocol | Policy

Big Tech tried to redefine terrorism online. It got messy fast.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism announced a series of narrow steps it's taking that underscore just how fraught the job of classifying terror online really is.

Erin Saltman is GIFCT's director of programming.

Photo: Paul Morigi/Flickr

A little over a month after the Jan. 6 riot, the tech industry's leading anti-terrorism alliance — a group founded by Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter — announced it was seeking ideas for how it could expand its definition of terrorism, which had for years been more or less synonymous with Islamic terrorism. The group, called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism or GIFCT, had been considering such a shift for at least a year, but the rising threat of domestic extremism, punctuated by the Capitol uprising, made it all the more clear something needed to change.

But after months of interviewing member companies, months of considering academic proposals and months spent mulling the impact of tech platforms on this and other violent events around the world, the group's policies have barely budged. On Monday, in a 177-page report, GIFCT released the first details of its plan, and, well, a radical rethinking of online extremism it is not. Instead, the report lays out a series of narrow steps that underscore just how fraught the job of classifying terror online really is.

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Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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