Cloudy with a Chance of Games

Stadia and the Epic Game store have a lot in common. A large section of the gaming populace hates both services for fair reasons or not. They are both thought as services that are not needed. One big trend from both services is that a lot of the games available in the storefronts have been given away free in Epics case or in Stadias case as part of the “free” Pro games. Also, both stores have been offering steep discounts for games. There is the case of both platforms buying exclusivity for games to come to their service first.

Why are do I think they are doing this strategy and what trends should we look out for? Stadia and the Epic game store are both new platforms and they need to get people invested in the ecosystem. Originally Stadia stated that they would be only be giving away 1 free Pro game a month. This strategy changed rapidity and we have received at least 2 games a month and sometimes more. Also, games have not been leaving the Pro game library after one month. Epic strategy is slightly different in that games are changed weekly but the end goal is the same. If you have more games in your library the more likely you are to invest in the platform.

Both storefronts are now offering big discounts. The Epic Game Store regularly has sales and often includes coupons that offer $10 of purchases. Stadia, on the other hand, Pro discounts seem to offer bigger discounts than the regular console digital storefronts. This again is to encourage people to start investing in the platform for the longer term.

This strategy is also having a somewhat negative impact from a game publisher aspect. People are waiting for it to be a Pro game, waiting for the game to be free on Epic or waiting for a sale. This is conditioning people to wait rather than buy the game straight away. If you go through both storefronts a lot of the games have been part of there free offerings.

The only big piece of the strategy is that of exclusive games. Epic made a lot of noise, in the beginning, getting high profile 3rd party exclusives onto the platform. Stadia are now starting to copy this with the first big one in Serious Sam 4. While both have steadily added exclusive indie titles with Stadia having the First on Stadia brand.

If Stadia is to continue the same as the Epic Game Store we should expect a “big” game(s) added. The Epic Game Store has recently added GTA 5 and this week’s free game is Civilization VI. For Stadia’s currently, that would involve the Ubisoft titles and Rockstars Red Dead Redemption 2. Alternatively, they could stealth drop something onto the platform in a PUBG. With the Elder Scrolls Online coming to the platform soon this would be a prime candidate. With the end of the free two months of Pro coming up since Stadia opened up to everyone, the timing makes sense as well for some “big” games getting added to Pro.

What makes this ironic is that there are a lot of similarities between Stadia and the Epic Game Store the bigger companies are not playing well together. There is a clear falling out between Epic Games and Google which looks like it will not be thawing anytime soon. Despite all that I do believe that Stadia is copying from the Epic Games playbook and I am wondering where it all goes down the line.

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