A new partnership between AT&T, Warner Bros, and Google brings Batman: Arkham Knight to the web via Stadia, but not on the Stadia website. I know, that’s weird to hear, right? Earlier this year, Gabe wrote up a piece on how Google was beginning to consider white labeling its streaming tech to third parties in order to power the future of cloud gaming, and we’re officially seeing the first instance of that.
What took everyone by surprise is that “Stadia” in name is mentioned nowhere on the AT&T promotional website. That’s the very nature of white labeling, after all – another company can use the tools and tech of the creator without having to attribute ownership. This allows the beneficiary to brand it as their own and make money on it. It’s kind of like ghostwriting, but for cloud gaming – Google provides the infrastructure and gets paid, and AT&T gets all the credit for the awesome experience.
Below, you can see that AT&T Wireless customers can play with “beta streaming” on their computer with no downloads or waiting. That’s the same promotional verbiage that Google uses for Stadia! In fact, AT&T directly confirmed to Ars Technica that the Batman experience is, in fact, being powered by Google Stadia and that the company “is collaborating with gaming technologists like Google to help usher in the next era of gaming.”
*Available for a limited time. To play Batman™ Arkham Knight please use Google Chrome or another Chromium-based web browser (ver.77 or higher) on a desktop or laptop. Must have an eligible consumer AT&T postpaid wireless number that is active and in good standing.The fine print at the bottom
Google has never been one to put all of its eggs into one basket – for better or worse. So, do I believe that this collaboration means that Stadia is going down in a blazing fire? No, not exactly. I think that the company has successfully leveraged its technologies in the past to benefit its partners and to plan for the future. I don’t think this is any different. In the worst-case scenario, if Stadia did one day shut down, I echo what I’ve said all along. Google’s revolutionary technology will go on to inspire the future of gaming, and it’s laid the groundwork for the success of cloud gaming, whether or not it continues to exist under the brand name.
The ability to go to any website in your browser and play a console-quality game for any purpose – promotional or otherwise – looks like a pretty bright future for cloud gaming if you ask me. Leaders aren’t made when individuals are stingy with their knowledge and expertise, and Google is clearly spreading its seeds into the wind to empower everyone else who has an interest in offering cloud gaming services.
Whether or not this is an attempt to salvage the platform through its desperation or a strategic play for future-proofing its efforts, I can’t say at this time. I just know that this doesn’t spell doom for Stadia right now. Phil Harrison himself even spoke on this crucial aspect of the company’s plans, so I have to believe that they know what they’re doing on some level, despite the messy journey.
We see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools,” Harrison wrote in a blog post today. “We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry.Phil Harrison, Stadia VP & GM
Stadia will likely continue to exist for a long time in its current form, and the only thing gamers should be thinking about is that there is yet another place and another method of playing games! The future of Stadia is and will remain a win-win for players and for companies. The DNA of what Google has created isn’t going anywhere, so fire up the AT&T website below and start hunting criminals!