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What Happens To These Exclusive Games After Stadia Closes Down?

For some time, gamers have been wondering what's going on with Google Stadia. When Google took a risk by jumping into gaming, no one knew how things were going to turn out. And after remaining relatively quiet for some time, Google has announced that it will be ceasing Stadia service in early 2023. Fans of the platform are saying RIP to Google Stadia, but many are also left with very real concerns about what will happen after Stadia is gone.

In his message to gamers, Vice President and General Manager of Stadia Phil Harrison assured customers that those who purchased Stadia games and hardware would eventually be refunded for their purchases. "Players will continue to have access to their games library and play through January 18, 2023 so they can complete final play sessions," Harrison explained in his announcement.

While it's good news for customers that they'll receive refunds for all their Stadia purchases, many are left to wonder about the other implications of Harrison's post. If Stadia users have access to their games through Jan. 18, what happens to the games after that? And, more importantly, what happens to games exclusive to Stadia that aren't available anywhere else?

An issue of preservation across all streaming services

Stadia is a cloud gaming service, and while it's not quite the same as video streaming platforms, it now has entered into a hot conversation about what happens to digital media after it becomes unavailable on streaming platforms. After a recent leadership change, HBO Max quietly removed many of its HBO-created films and series, many of which never had a physical release. While these shows could theoretically end up on another streaming platform, it's unclear how or when that might happen. Some of these shows could simply disappear altogether.

Stadia has a similar problem in that Google owns many exclusive games that will now cease to exist after the service closes down. While video streaming services could potentially sell content to other services, video games often have to be specifically adapted to different consoles. An entire porting process takes place to get games ready to debut on various systems, and selling off exclusive titles to other platforms might not be a simple process.

This is clearly an issue on gamers' minds. One fan tweeted what pretty much everyone was thinking, writing, "really curious what the stadia publishing contracts for platform exclusives say about what happens in the event of the service ceasing operations."

There's also the issue of developers left in the lurch after Stadia's sudden announcement. One game creator, Mike Rose, tweeted, "We have a game coming to Stadia in November. Who wants to guess that Google will refuse to pay us the money they owe us for it." With the Google Stadia store now closed, and the platform as a whole becoming inaccessible in early 2023, gamers and developers want to know where games will go after the platform shuts down.

Five exclusive games with uncertain futures

The short answer is: no one knows yet. While it does seem that Stadia's exclusive will be lost, some developers of these games are planning to take titles to other platforms.

Super Rare Games' Ryan Brown noted that Stadia has always been a games preservation nightmare, particularly focusing on how the Stadia store closed with no notice to developers or gamers. Another gamer mourned the titles that would be lost, writing, "The sad thing about Stadia shutting down is all the exclusive games that will soon become lost media, like Gylt, Pixeljunk Raiders, Hello Engineer, etc. Gameplay footage and trailers will be the only proof these games ever existed, if they're not ported to other platforms." As many of these titles are independently developed by small studios, it's unclear if they'll be ported to other platforms or services.

Fortunately, there are only a few titles that are completely exclusive to Stadia at the time of its closing. Game industry expert Martin Lindell listed just 5: "GYLT," "PAC-MAN Mega Tunnel Battle," "Outcasters," "Pixeljunk Raiders," and "Hello Engineer." While many of the developers of these games have stayed silent in the wake of Google's announcement, some have spoken out about plans for the future.

Q-Games, the developer of "Pixeljunk Raiders," tweeted that while its team had a great time working with Stadia, the game will actually cease to exist after the platform closes for good. However, the developer is open to working with another publisher to bring its game to other platforms, and invited publishers to get in contact. For now, the developers of the other exclusive games have remained quiet on Google's announcement, but fans are eager to get in a few more play sessions before the service shuts down completely.