Google is gearing up to produce video games in a big way. The tech giant unveiled a new development unit ahead of the launch of Stadia, its game streaming service. Here’s what we know.
- The Stadia Games and Entertainment studio has opened in Montreal, Canada. The studio will create in-house content for Stadia, and support other developers in doing the same.
- The studio will be overseen by Jade Raymond, head of Google’s Stadia Games and Entertainment division. Raymond, who is from Montreal, announced the news in an official Google blog post. She spoke at length about the studio’s goals with GamesIndustry.biz.
- “Just as Stadia intends to change the way games are accessed and experienced by players, we want to change the way games are made,” she wrote. “That starts with our culture. Stadia is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace; these diverse perspectives will shape the games we create together.”
- Stadia is a cloud gaming service: it enables users to stream hi-res games, with nothing more than Google Chrome and a strong internet connection. Games can be played through a computer, smartphone, tablet, smart tv, or digital media player — there is no console, and no need for particularly high-end hardware.
- The service will launch on November 19 in 14 countries, including the U.S. and Canada, with an array of third-party games. Users pay on a per-game basis, although there is a subscription option that unlocks free games and special features.
- Raymond is a veteran of the industry. Before joining Google, she spent a decade at Ubisoft, where she co-created the Assassin’s Creed franchise and executive produced Assassin’s Creed 2, Watch Dogs, and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. She also helped launch Ubisoft’s Toronto studio and served as its managing director, and in 2015, she co-founded the Electronic Arts subsidiary Motive Studios in Montreal.
- By opening in Montreal, Google’s studio will have a large talent pool to draw on. The city is a gaming hub with over 11,000 people working in the industry: Ubisoft, Square Enix, WB Games, Eidos, and Electronic Arts all have bases there. The sector is stimulated by generous government support, including a tax credit that subsidizes up to 37.5% of game workers’ salaries.