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.