Earlier today, Google confirmed that its shutting down Stadia, its short-lived cloud gaming service. While the company plans on refunding all software and hardware purchases related to Stadia, the future of the few remaining exclusives on the service is less clear. And if they don’t get ported to other platforms before Stadia rides into the sunset next year, they could completely disappear, never to be played again.
When Google Stadia launched in late 2019, the search engine company had big plans, promising exclusive games that would utilize features only possible through cloud streaming and off-site computing. In the years that followed, Google would stop focusing on Stadia exclusives, even closing down its own game studio in the process. However, a few exclusive games remain stranded on Stadia. And with today’s sudden news that Stadia is shutting down permanently on January 18, 2023, we don’t know what will happen to these games. In both a blog post announcing the shutdown and a FAQ about the situation, Google failed to clarify what is the future for the few remaining Stadia exclusives.
Kotaku has contacted Google about these games and will update the post if it shares any new details or plans with us.
By our count, there are five games that can only be played through Google Stadia. Here’s the list:
Released in October 2021, this is the newest exclusive on the list. Hello Engineer is described by the devs as a “multiplayer machinery-building construction game” and is set in the same universe as the popular horror game, Hello Neighbor.
This is a poorly reviewed third-person roguelike action game from the folks at Q-Games, the same devs who made The Tomorrow Children and the other PixelJunk games.) It does have a neat feature where players can share a screenshot and others can hop into that game state using just that image. But the rest of the game sounds kind of dull.
Developed by Splash Damage, Outcasters is a top-down online multiplayer combat game that features characters that look like they fell out of a Fall Guys knock-off. While some players had good things to say about Outcasters, it hasn’t found the audience it needed, even after going free-to-play, and it sounds like these days it’s mostly a ghost town.
Update 10/14/2022 4:50 p.m. ET: Since this article was originally published, the devs behind Outcasters have confirmed that the game will not be ported to any other platforms.
Splash Damage explained that the game is “heavily reliant” on Stadia and was built around the service and its streaming features. So porting it to Switch or Xbox seems out of the question. Once Stadia dies next year, Outcasters dies with it.
Released in 2020, Mega Tunnel Battle combines the classic Pac-Man arcade game with a battle royale. Up to 64 players can play together, competing to be the last Pac-Man standing while using a mix of new and returning power-ups across retro-inspired maps.
GYLT is a third-person horror game starring a young girl and is considered by many Stadia fans to possibly be the best exclusive game released on the service. It was developed by Tequilla Works and is about six hours long, packed with some decent jump scares, puzzles and combat. Nothing super special, but a solid game that will hopefully get ported to Steam or Switch so more folks can enjoy GYLT for years to come.
While some of these games aren’t incredible and I doubt many people would care if they never got to play them again, losing them would still be a shame. Video game preservation is important if we want to save this art form’s history and show how it has evolved and changed over decades of innovation and new technology. Losing these games to the void, even if some of them aren’t all that great, would suck.
Hopefully, the devs and publishers involved can and will port them to other platforms. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll die forever when Google kills the Stadia servers, as not even pirates were able to rip and share the games online. A sad end to games that people likely spent years working on.