Game streaming services like Google’s Stadia are advertised to break down barriers that prevent gamers from playing their favorite titles the way they want. It turns out there are some barriers it just can’t break down, barriers that are set up more by business considerations rather than technical limitations. Gamers will be reminded of that unfortunate reality when Serious Sam 4 launches in August on PCs and Stadia but not on consoles it was once advertised to launch on as well.
Platform exclusivity has mostly been a hallmark of the gaming console market where Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo view for attention and stales by ensuring hit titles don’t go their rivals until after a certain period. PC games, on the other hand, are more open but have been blocked from launching immediately on consoles due to technical hurdles. Those technical issues have become a thing of the past but that’s not stopping this rather surprising change from happening.
Serious Sam 4 will still launch on time in August but you will be able to find it only on Steam and on Google Stadia. It turns out that the game grabbed an exclusivity deal with Stadia that will keep the game out of consoles for a period. How long is that period? Kotaku reports that the game won’t arrive on the PlayStation and Xbox One platforms until some undetermined date in 2021.
That’s a long time to wait for a game that may already be long overdue. The last major Serious Sam title came out in 2011 while the first-ever game came out in 2001. That’s definitely a rather long gap that could make some question the franchise’s holding power, especially if its availability will be limited to one or two platforms only for an entire year.
That said, the previous Serious Sam games have been rather successful, partly because it ironically doesn’t take itself too seriously. While gameplay is deadly and brutally serious, the entire premise and treatment may not be so. Even if the fate of the world hangs in the balance.