Google today announced a slew of new games coming to its Stadia cloud service over the coming months, including five exclusive titles. Unfortunately the games don't seem like the types of blockbuster hits that Stadia will need to get gamers excited. The announcements were made during Google's Stadia Connect event.
Exclusives are mostly indie — First in terms of exclusives, Orcs Must Die! 3 is launching today as part of the Stadia Pro subscription service. Google also announced that it's teaming up with Harmonix, the developer behind Rock Band, and Until Dawn's studio Supermassive Games to bring exclusive games to Stadia. Uppercut Games, which makes Epoch and Submerged, will be creating an exclusive Stadia game. We don't know anything else about the titles or when they will arrive.
Exclusives are going to be a great way to draw in gamers to Stadia. It makes sense that they would go elsewhere to play cross-platform titles if it means being able to play at 4K and 60fps and hang with friends. The exclusives that Google announced today aren't exactly blockbusters that can compensate, though.
There are also some existing, more popular titles coming to Stadia. The Hitman reboot series, including the upcoming Hitman 3, is heading to the platform on September 1st. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is coming sometime in the fall. 2K is bringing its sports titles to Stadia including PGA Tour 2K21 on August 1st, WWE 2K Battlegrounds coming September 18th, and NBA 2K21 coming sometime in the fall.
Stadia is far behind — The titles announced today are a start, but Microsoft has announced more than 15 exclusive titles that will be launching across Xbox One and Series X when the new console is released, and Sony has similarly announced a roster of first-party hits for the upcoming PS5, including a new Ratchet and Clank and Gran Turismo. Heck, if we're talking about pure streaming platforms, Microsoft's own xCloud service is free while in beta and includes a bunch of popular first-party games.
This year was the first E3 for Google and it was mostly a waste. We're nearly a year past the launch of Stadia and exclusives are still incredibly thin, while promised features are still not available. Stadia has so much potential to be a great service for people who don't have have expensive gaming hardware, but it's not there yet. Google needs to be much more aggressive about signing deals to get as many games as possible, and maybe even drop the subscription fee until the service is more mature — or else risk keeping gamers away and getting sent to the trash bin.