Stadia is still here, still getting additional games, and might one day be really cool, but nothing in today’s Stadia Connect event made it look like the platform has turned a corner as it struggles to establish a new ecosystem for gaming.
The most exciting game (at least to me) announced during today’s event was Super Bomberman R Online, a followup to the 2017 game, this time with a new 64-player battle royale mode. It’s only a timed exclusive, while many of the other games mentioned during the presentation have already been out for a while on other platforms, like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Google didn’t have much to say about how Stadia features like crowd play and state share are coming along, or why they appear to only be available for a few games at the moment. And there was no news about any sort of new pricing model that might make buying old games at high prices, games that will remain locked behind your Stadia user account, more appealing. If Google is patiently playing some sort of long game here, it’s a really, really long game.
Here’s what Google did announce.
The third game in Robot Entertainment’s tower-defense series is part of a small but growing list of Stadia timed exclusives. You can go play it right now (if you’re willing to buy it on Stadia or pay for a Pro membership).
Currently on Stadia in early access as part of a time exclusive, the 2D platformer has you sing into a mic in order to solve puzzles and get around obstacles.
Outcasters looks a light and whimsical grind-for-custom-cosmetics multiplayer shooter you might find in an arcade. It’s top-down and much cuter than anything Splash Damage is traditionally known for (like its work on the Gears series). (Update - 2:01 p.m., 7/14/20: It looks like Outcasters, like all of the games shown today, is only a timed exclusive, and will eventually come to other platforms as well.)
Super Bomberman R Online will build off 2017’s Super Bomberman R, which was good but not great, with a new 64-player battle royale mode, more customization options, and additional characters. It’ll also be coming to Stadia first some time this fall.
Harmonix (Rockband), Uppercut Games (City of Brass), and Supermassive Games (Until Dawn) are all working with the Stadia Games development team to make exclusives for the streaming platform.
A few other old games and some new ones will continue trickling onto the platform over the next several months:
- PGA Tour 2K21 (August 21)
- Serious Sam 4 (August)
- Hitman 1 (September 1)
- Hitman 2 (September 1)
- WWE 2K Battlegrounds (September 18)
- Dead by Daylight (September)
- NBA 2K21 (Fall 2020)
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Fall 2020)
- Outriders (Holiday 2020)
- Hello Neighbor (September 20)
- Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek (Holiday 2020)
- Hitman 3 (January 2021)
Today’s Connect presentation was a far cry from Google’s E3-adjacent showcase last year, which got into details about how the platform would work and the company’s future plans for it. This year we didn’t get much in the way of new info about things like save state sharing that have the potential to make Stadia a unique platform to play games on. As we near the service’s one-year anniversary, a lot of those features are still missing, and its game library still feels incredibly light, especially compared to things like Game Pass and PlayStation Now.
As someone who uses Stadia regularly to play games like Destiny 2, nothing Google showed today made me any more confident about buying Stadia games and investing more heavily in its ecosystem.
Correction: One Hand Clapping is not free with Stadia Pro.