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Google is shutting down its Stadia game studios

By Kara Santos Published Feb 03, 2021 12:37 am

Google is shifting away from making its own games for their cloud gaming service Stadia.

Stadia Vice President and general manager Phil Harrison issued an official statement on Monday (Feb. 1) confirming that Google will be focusing on working with developers and publishers to bring third-party games to the platform in the future. While the Stadia studios in Montreal and Los Angeles will be shut down, Google will keep investing in the service.

"Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially," Harrison wrote. "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 [Stadia Games and Entertainment], beyond any near-term planned games."

As reported by GameSpot, the studio's closure will impact about 150 people including industry veteran Jade Raymond, who Google tapped to lead the game development division. Prior to her stint in Stadia, the Canadian video game producer was known as founder of Ubisoft Toronto and Motive Studios, where she led the creation of the first Assassin's Creed game.

Harrison noted that most of the team members will be moving on to other roles and that Google will help them find new positions and provide support. 

Publicly launched in November 2019, Stadia was originally envisioned as a "Netflix of video games," where gamers could access and enjoy high quality gaming experiences using any existing screen, from their TV set, desktop, laptop and phones, without a need for a console. The game streaming service was meant to compete with Sony's PlayStation Now, Nvidia's GeForce Now, Amazon's Luna, and Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming. 

However, since the cloud gaming service developed and operated by Google was launched in select countries, it initially received a mixed reception from reviewers. SG&E has published a few Stadia exclusives, including Orcs Must Die! 3, Outcasters and Submerged: Hidden Depths.

According to Harrison, Google believes working with developers and publishers to bring third-party games to the platform is the "best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business." In November, Stadia's director of games Jack Buser said that there were 400 games in the works for the service. Exclusive Stadia titles are in development from studios like Harmonix and Supermassive.

Current and future Stadia gamers will still be able to play games on Stadia and Stadia Pro, and the service will 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. 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," Harrison wrote.

(Images via Google Stadia)