What Google’s Stadia Reveal Could Mean for Influencer Marketing.
Published on Mar 20
Google wants to change the gaming landscape, or so they claim. The tech giant’s keynote unveiling at San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference introduced Stadia; an ambitious streaming service that runs on any cross-platform hardware device through Chrome. Google boasts Stadia as a “new-generation platform purpose-built for the 21st century;” a space for gamers, developers, and online creators to create, play, and stream together.
We still have a lot of questions, but if successful Stadia will have a huge impact on the whole ecosystem, including influencer marketing. In their keynote, Google invited Head of YouTube Gaming Ryan Wyatt and creator and host of The Game Theorists MatPat to introduce the role of creators in Stadia’s plan. They introduced Crowd Play; a live-streaming integration that lets players enter into a queue to game with their favorite influencers, and State Share; a new way to clip and share highlights, live streams and capture shareable moments directly through Stadia to YouTube and other social media platforms.
The emphasis here is on building new pathways for gamers to connect with their favorite creators; but whether Stadia can tempt gamers away from streaming titans like Twitch and take on other tech giants in the space is yet to be seen.
Google’s idea to stream games through the internet is not new; Valve has been experimenting with it recently, as has Microsoft who have made it possible to stream PC games on Xbox One (as have Nintendo and Sony in limited fashions). But this is Google, and if Stadia can pull this off, it will revolutionize the $100 billion dollar gaming industry.
Beyond State Share and Crowd Play, more accessibility in gaming will penetrate a wider variety of consumers; both demographically and geographically. We can make this assumption by glancing at the enormous growth in mobile gaming, where the proliferation of smartphone users has created an estimated two billion mobile gamers worldwide, growing at a rate of 3.4% year on year. However, we do not know yet whether Stadia will offer a Steam-like service, or something more along the lines of Netflix; they did not clarify in their keynote.
Software as a service brings consumers that step closer to the purchasing decision; and with a whole server of games to choose from plus the addition of Crowd Play and State Share, Google has understood that influencer marketing might become more important than ever in bridging the gap between making a consumer aware of an upcoming title, and sitting down and playing.
However, with increased accessibility and the possibility of commitment-free choice comes reduced retention. Developers are also given the opportunity to be more creative, and the challenge may be to keep players engaged for longer (and not switch to other titles); providing more trophies, in-game content, and rewards, and use creators to leverage these perks. We could also see a rise in episodic content, and definitely more variety as seen in mobile or indie gaming.
Google’s Stadia would also impact what KPIs emerge as the most valuable for influencer marketing alongside this technology; will it be concurrent players? Total play time? User acquisition? We can only speculate, but it will impact the creators themselves as they collaborate with brands working parallel to Stadia.
Stadia will be launching in 2019 in the US, Canada, UK and Europe. However, the keynote offered no insight into Google’s Stadia business model, so it is hard to know what to expect until the full service launches later this year. For influencers the future looks bright. Nurturing and building creator communities is the lifeblood of the influencer marketing industry, so anything that claims to enhance that connection can only be a good thing.