Google is moving away from developing its own games for Stadia. It’s shutting down studios in Montreal and Los Angeles, and industry veteran Jade Raymond, who Google acquired to lead the game development division, is leaving the company. Google Stadia vice president and general manager Phil Harrison addressed in a blog post that Google will keep investing in the service. Here is everything you need to know.
Google is shutting down its internal Stadia game development division, the organization announced, as it refocuses Stadia to be a hub for streaming games from existing developers rather than developing its own games for 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.”
The corporation started its first Stadia studio in Montreal in 2019 and it got Journey to the Savage Planet developer Typhoon Studios later that year to support the team. Google declared the Los Angeles studio last March. Harrison noted that most of the team members will be moving on to other roles and that Google will support them find new positions. SG&E has written a few Stadia exclusives, including Orcs Must Die! 3, Outcasters, and Submerged: Hidden Depths.
According to Harrison, Google considers 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 production from studios like Harmonix and Supermassive.
Stadia itself, alongside the $9.99 Stadia Pro subscription service, will continue to exist going forward, and Google may proceed to try to secure exclusive (or timed-exclusive) third-party titles to offer through its subscription. Any “near-planned” games will still be released on Stadia, too.
But the closing of Stadia’s in-house studios marks a severe setback to Google’s gaming goals. Beyond the mere technical features of the streaming service itself, the fact that Google was ready to invest in multiple first-party studios was one of the most important parts of the original Stadia vision.