In a blog post dated 1st February 2021, Phil Harrison (Vice President and GM of Google Stadia) announced that Google will be shutting its in-house game development team – Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E). The post said that the tech giant will now focus on partnering with third-party games studios instead. As an effect of the shut down, Vice President Jade Raymonds departed while the rest of the team will be moving to new roles. Harrison said that moving forward, Google will focus on collaborating with external game developers and publishers to bring their games to players directly through its cloud streaming platform.
Why was Google’s SG&E division shut down
Stadia was launched by tech giant Google with the goal of making video games instantly accessible wherever gamers want to play them. The idea behind Stadia was to let gamers play their favorite top-tier games without having to purchase them and own ridiculously expensive computers or related gaming consoles. On Stadia, games would run on cloud servers in the data centres of Google and the video feed of the game could be broadcasted to the device of the user, be it smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet or smart TV.
Announcing the news, Phil Harrison said that given the focus of Google building proven technology of Stadia and deepening their business relationships, the tech giant has decided that it will not be investing further in developing exclusive content from its internal development team Stadia, beyond any planned near-term game releases.
Creating world class games from scratch takes several years in addition to significant investment, and the cost is increasing exponentially, says Harrison. In 2021, the company will be seeking opportunities to work and collaborate with third-party gamers, publishers and partners who are looking for a gaming solution which is all built on the advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools of Stadia, says Mr Phil. Google believes this is the right and best path to build Stadia into a sustainable and long-term business that’ll help the industry grow.
What does this mean for current Stadia gamers
Gamers will be able to continue playing all their games on Stadia and Stadia Pro. The tech giant said that it will continue bringing in new titles from third parties to its platform. The company committed towards the future of cloud gaming and will also continue doing its part to take this industry forward. Stadia’s main goal remains creating the best platform for gamers and technology for its partners along with bringing the experiences to life for people everywhere, said the post.
In January 2021, Alphabet, Google’s parent company announced that it will be winding up its internet balloon firm Loon. The tech giant pointed towards the lack of willing partners along with an inability to create a sustainable business model as the reason for the company’s demise.