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Google shuts down first-party Stadia game studios to refocus as platform provider

Google shuts down first-party Stadia game studios to refocus as platform provider

February 1, 2021 | By Alissa McAloon

February 1, 2021 | By Alissa McAloon
More: Social/Online

Just over one year in, Google is making major changes to its Stadia strategy and shutting down the two game development studios it created to develop Stadia games.

Kotaku broke the news ahead of an official Google announcement posted shortly after, found here.

According to Kotaku's sources, what started as a slew of project cancellations has since been revealed as an entire refocus of the Stadia platform, which Google now plans to offer to publishers looking to create their own cloud-based options.

Stadia VP and GM Phil Harrison explains in a blog post that the shift aims, from Google's standpoint, to both help expands the cloud-based gaming industry and help Stadia evolve into a sustainable project.

"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," writes Harrison. "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."

Harrison goes on to say that Google has decided not to invest further in internally developing its own Stadia exclusives given that "creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially."

Both of Google's Stadia-centric game development studios, one in Montreal and one in Los Angeles, are closing down due to the shift, and Kotaku's sources say Google will try to find the 150 developers impacted new roles within Google. In Harrison's words: "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."

The shift also means that Jade Raymond is departing Google after being hired on in 2019 to head up the Stadia Games and Entertainment team and the now-shuttered Montreal studio.

While Google is walking away from Stadia Game development, it doesn't seem that Stadia as a standalone platform is going anywhere for the time being. While publishers will have the option to use Stadia's technology to power their own cloud based platforms. both the current Google Stadia game platform and its $10 per month Stadia Pro subscription will remain up and running. 

"We’re committed to the future of cloud gaming, and will continue to do our part to drive this industry forward," says Harrison. "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."

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