The unsettling fact of the digital age is that we do not truly own
any of our purchased content. Having access to movies, music, and games purchased in digital form rely on a number of factors, and there are plenty of examples where things have gone sideways. That said, Google
is promising that users of its Stadia gaming service
need not worry about developers and publishers pulling the plug.
In an updated FAQ section pertaining to Stadia, Google states in no uncertain terms that any game you purchase will always be playable on the service. Here is the pertinent section...
Question: What happens to a game I bought if the publisher stops supporting Stadia in the future? Can I still play the game?
Answer: Once you purchase the game, you own the right to play it. In the future, it is possible that some games may no longer be available for new purchases, but existing players will still be able to play the game. Outside of unforeseen circumstances, Stadia will aim to keep any previously purchased title available for gameplay.
The updated FAQ entry is consistent with comments Google's vice president and head of Stadia, Phil Harrison, made to GamesRadar a couple of weeks ago. In response to the same question, Harrison confirmed that "you will still be able to access the game" if a publisher yanks its title, and also said that saved data would be accessible in this scenario as well.
This should give gamers some of peace of mind about Stadia. Having ongoing access is not always a given, after all. For example,last year it was reported that Apple had deleted movies customers purchased on iTunes after a content provided her pulled out.
Google's stance is reassuring, though it remains to be seen how popular Stadia will be when it launches this November
. Over two dozen games have been announced so far, including Doom Eternal, Destiny 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Mortal Kombat 11, Final Fantasy XV, Just Dance 2020, and several others.
One thing to bear in mind is that Stadia is not really a Netflix for games. There is an optional subscription fee, just like Netflix, but for the most part, you still need to purchase games. That said, Google plans to offer a backlog of titles and regularly add free games for paying subscribers.