Google shuts down internal Stadia game studios

Google Stadia

Google is closing its internal development studios focused on Stadia. Instead, the company says that it is focusing on Stadia as a platform for third-party developers.

The short version: Google is throwing in the towel on game development. The company will allow “near-term planned games” to run their course, but it looks like all other internal projects are off the table.

This does not mean that Stadia itself is shutting down. The service – including the Stadia Pro subscription – will continue. They just won’t have the backing of first-party studios going forward.

Here’s part of the statement from Google’s Phil Spencer:

In 2021, we’re expanding our efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology and deliver games directly to their players. We see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools. We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry.

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. With the increased focus on using our technology platform for industry partners, Jade Raymond has decided to leave Google to pursue other opportunities. We greatly appreciate Jade’s contribution to Stadia and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Over the coming months, most of the SG&E team will be moving on to new roles. We’re committed to working with this talented team to find new roles and support them. 

My Take

It’s still possible that Google may sign exclusive third-party deals or timed exclusives. But the fact that they are no longer developing their own exclusives signals that they are content with just selling games. Stadia will continue as an option among many rather than as an industry leader.

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