Google is looking to make Stadia more attractive to developers and publishers, and it's bringing in a more generous revenue sharing split. Those behind games released on Stadia after October 1st will receive 85 percent of sales revenue, with Google taking a 15 percent cut. The split applies to the first $3 million of sales and will only be in place until the end of 2023. Stadia will return to the current revenue split after that point.
Starting this month, new titles that join the Stadia Pro lineup (the library of games that's included with a membership) under updated terms will receive a cut of the $10/month subscriptions. Google will share 70 percent of that revenue with publishers and the pool will be divided based on player engagement. Google is using something called "session days" as the key metric. Each separate day that a user hops into a Stadia Pro game counts as a session day — if someone plays a title twice in 24 hours, it still counts as one session day.
Google made these announcements during a Stadia keynote at the Google for Games Summit. It will also introduce a Stadia Pro affiliate program. Developers and/or publishers will receive $10 for every user who accesses Stadia through their Click to Play link and goes on to become a paid Stadia Pro subscriber after their one-month trial. The idea is to give developers and publishers an incentive to promote their Stadia Pro games wherever users can click on a link. This program will get underway early next year.
Although all of these changes will benefit developers and publishers, it's perhaps the 85/15 revenue split that will be most enticing. As with the lower revenue cut Apple takes from the first $1 million per year of App Store sales, the move could mostly beneficial for indie studios and publishers, though those who've already published games on Stadia will miss out on the deal.
It's been a turbulent few months for Stadia. Google shut down its internal game studios in February, turning Stadia into a game streaming platform for third-party titles only. Meanwhile, Stadia product chief John Justice left the company in May. Perhaps strengthening relationships with publishers and developers through better financial terms can help Google steady the ship.