What came first, the chicken or the egg? I often see this question used to illustrate Stadia's current predicament, where the platform lacks games, and so it also lacks players. Clearly, Stadia needs more games to boost its player base, but without a mass of users, devs don't want to port their games. It's quite the conundrum, which was recently pointed out by the CEO of Epic Games Tim Sweeney, when asked if Fortnite would be coming to Stadia. Sweeney states that since Stadia doesn't "yet have mass-market user bases," the effort required to maintain yet another port for Fortnite is too extreme. Essentially, it does not make economic sense to port games to a platform with a small user base, bringing us right back to the whole chicken and egg thing.
There’s not a deep reason. We fully support Stadia in Unreal Engine however the effort required to release Fortnite updates weekly in sync across 7+ platform is extreme and that makes it hard to add platforms that don’t yet have mass market user bases.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) July 28, 2020
Now, there is a chance that Sweeney is simply stating that Fortnite won't come to Stadia yet to put pressure on Google to pay for the port, or at least contribute. It's clear Stadia, and Fortnite fans want to see the game on the platform, but since Epic doesn't want to foot the bill, that means Google could step up to the plate to ensure that Stadia succeeds by throwing a bunch of money around to appease apprehensive devs. Many Stadia users already feel that Google needs to grease the wheels, as it were, and since Stadia is missing many of the popular genre-defining titles found on consoles and PC, the platform is lagging behind the competition.
What Sweeney didn't mention is that Fortnite is already available on NVIDIA's GeForce NOW game streaming service, which is also a fledgling platform with a small user base, so the whole mass-market excuse doesn't make a ton of sense when considering this. Of course, it's not like extra work or money is required from Epic to list a game on GeForce NOW as it would be for Stadia, so syncing platform updates would indeed be a pain point for a Stadia port on Epic's end.
While it would appear that Sweeney isn't ruling out that Epic will bring Fortnite to Stadia once it has a worthwhile user base, it's going to be tough for Stadia to grow without games like Fortnite, which Sweeney assuredly knows. Hence the posturing on Twitter. Whether Google will rise to the occasion to finally start pumping up the Stadia library by paying for ports remains to be seen, but I'm sure there are a bunch of Stadia users out there hoping that Google will finally do what it needs to do to ensure Stadia's success.