Google Stadia closes its game development studios, shifts business focus
Between next-gen console launches, PC gaming hardware updates, and Nintendo proving to be a financial force to be reckoned with, Google’s cloud gaming initiative Stadia has become an afterthought as of late. Introduced in late 2019, Stadia is an admittedly impressive idea that failed to take off, as odd pricing structures, a lack of regular heavy-hitting exclusive games, and the need for high-quality internet has resulted in Stadia playing second fiddle to everyone else.
Google’s revolution in gaming is being cut short, as the company announced this week that it is getting out of the game-making business and will now offer its platform directly to game publishers, while the Stadia Pro package will still be offered to the public. According to Kotaku originally, Google will close its Montreal and Los Angeles studios, impacting around 150 workers. As one source aptly summed up the entire atmosphere to Kotaku about making video games at Google:
Google was a terrible place to make games. Imagine Amazon, but under-resourced.
Assassin’s Creed architect Jade Raymond is also exiting Google, although the Stadia service will continue to run as the company added that it can still sign new games and plans to bring more third-party releases to the platform. While Stadia as an exclusive platform for new games may no longer be happening, Google is confident that it can turn the streaming tech into an opportunity for other video game companies.
“We see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools,” Google’s head of Stadia operations Phil Harrison wrote in a blog post. “We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry.”
“We’re committed to the future of cloud gaming, and will continue to do our part to drive this industry forward,” Google said in an official statement.
Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games. Our goal remains focused on creating the best possible platform for gamers and technology for our partners, bringing these experiences to life for people everywhere.
It has been a strange journey for Stadia. Released in a mere handful of territories, the service’s basic functions did work brilliantly if all the correct stars were aligned, but other promised features never materialised and first-party games became a pipe dream. With Microsoft’s Project xCloud arriving to the party with all the Xbox benefits you could ask for, Google’s push to become a game-maker already had one foot in the grave.