I’m still trucking along with Crayta. I’ve been immersed with the community on the official Discord where users and Unit 2 Games staff have been co-mingling to get everyone up to speed, answer questions, and provide a helping hand to one another. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about the product, reminded myself about the things I had forgotten about LUA, and have made decent headway in angling towards a project idea.
My only roadblock, really, is that I have almost no one to share this with, and by design, Crayta is all about sharing. The point of the product is to make games that the community can play, and following up on that “community” aspect, the product allows for shared editing of games in real time. There’s several livestreams where the Unit 2 devs are cooperatively editing the same world (including code), which shows that Crayta is about as community oriented as you can get.
So many times now I’ve thought “Oh man! So-and-so would love this! I should tell them!” only to be struck in the face with the wet fish of reality that only four people I know are on my Stadia friends list, meaning that only four people could actually participate in Crayta with me, and sadly, none of them are the ones that I felt needed to know about how cool this system is.
While driving to the office this morning, I had a CTJ moment. While I think Crayta is an excellent product, it’s going to get hamstrung by being a Stadia exclusive.
In order to access Crayta, one has to either pay $59.99 USD and buy it outright, which allows the user to access the product through Stadia without a subscription, or one can subscribe to Stadia for $9.99 USD per month and get the basic version for free as part of the Pro subscription. First, I can’t see anyone paying $59.99 USD for a product that, while receiving primarily positive reviews across the board, is one-level removed from most people’s reach. Second, Stadia already has a “reputation”, like Epic, like Steam, like Origin, like GeForce Now, like other services that percolate opinions based solely on hearsay. Third, some people cannot participate in Stadia because of poor connection or data caps. Crayta is a great product that’s quite frankly being held back by being behind Stadia’s polarizing paywall.
Now more than ever, the question of what would happen to our purchased products if Google decided to “Gee Plus” Stadia. Playing a game obtained for free as part of the subscription is probably not going to keep anyone up at night, and not being offered a substitute platform if Stadia were not longer around would certainly make people angry, but putting in hours upon hours of work on a project, solo or as part of a team, that lives and dies at the mercy of one of the most fickle SASS companies on the planet, not to mention the uphill battle of trying to get enough people to straight up try the product in the first place, makes me very, very sad for Crayta. As a service exclusive, there’s currently no other way to get Crayta, and I’m not sure if it’s even possible to decouple the service from Stadia. I’m certainly not putting the nail in any coffins here, but there had better be a “plan B” for the possibility/eventuality of Stadia’s demise so that Crayta, out of all of Stadia’s offerings, can live on.