What will happen to the games that you purchase through Google Stadia (opens in new tab) if a developer or publisher decides to pull support from the platform? That just one of the many questions that we sought to get answered today, when we sat down with Google's vice president and head of Stadia, Phil Harrison.
During a roundtable session, we took the question to Harrison: If we were to purchase a game through Google Stadia – as an example, a single-player focused experience such as Watch Dogs Legion (opens in new tab) – what would happen should a publisher – in this hypothetical instance, Ubisoft – decide to pull support from the platform a couple of years down the line? As there are no downloads involved in Stadia as a platform, would I still be able to access and play the game that I have purchased from the Stadia servers?
"Yes, you will still be able to access the game," Harrison tells me, reaffirming this point as I ask about playing said hypothetical game without restriction and still being able to access my save data: “yes.”
It wouldn't then, I continued, be another P.T. situation – wherein the game could just disappear off of the face of the planet? "Now, there may be – as we've seen in the past – there may be times where a developer or publisher no longer has the rights to sell to new players. That would mean that the game will not be available to new players, but it will continue to be available for existing players.”
Questions surrounding game ownership and preservation are only going to become more prevalent in the coming years, as both the industry and consumers alike continue to grapple with an increasing shift towards a digital-first ecosystem. Still, we will explore all of that – along with a host of other unanswered Google Stadia questions – in greater depth later this week when our interview with Harrison goes live on site. For now, however, it's good to know that purchasing a license to play a game through Google Stadia is withstanding even if a publisher or developer decides it wants to pick up its ball and run home.
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