It’s been a little more than a year since Google launched its Stadia cloud gaming service, and the sky has just become a bit darker for the company’s ambitious gaming initiative. Phil Harrison, Vice President and GM for Google Stadia announced today that Google was shutting down all of its internal studios making exclusive games for Stadia, with Jade Raymond, the executive in charge of Stadia Games and Entertainment leaving the company.
"Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially. 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," Harrison said today.
According to a separate report from Kotaku, over 150 developers at SG&E could be affected, though Harrison said today that Google would do its best to “find new roles and support them.” In the meantime, Google will be looking for industry partners to use its proven Stadia technology to bring their games to players. "We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry,” Harrison explained.
One Source speaking to Kotaku said that “Google was a terrible place to make games. Imagine Amazon, but under-resourced.” Last week, a lengthy report from Bloomberg revealed Amazon’s ongoing struggles with its own internal studios, which led to the cancellation of many projects in recent years.
Making quality video games is really hard, and even veterans like Microsoft can make some missteps. During the Xbox One generation, Microsoft also canceled several projects including Scalebound or Fable Legends, closed Fable developer Lionhead Studios, while other games like Crackdown 3 or Halo Infinite more recently seem to have gone through some very complicated development cycles.
Still, Harrison explained today that nothing is changing for Stadia players, and the platform should continue to welcome new games going forward. “We’ll continue to bring new titles from third parties to the platform. We’re committed to the future of cloud gaming, and will continue to do our part to drive this industry forward,” the exec said.