Less than two years after it opened, Google’s in-house game division has been axed. Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E) had been developing original games for Stadia, the tech giant’s young game streaming service. Google will now “focus on using our [Stadia] technology platform for industry partners.”
Here are the details:
- The two SG&E studios, based in Montreal and L.A., will cease to develop projects apart from “near-term planned games.” The division had not yet released any games. Phil Harrison, Stadia’s vice president and general manager, announced the closure in a blog post.
- Around 150 workers will be affected, reports Kotaku, citing a source familiar with Stadia operations. Harrison says Google is committed to finding them new roles.
- The Montreal studio opened in October 2019, with SG&E head Jade Raymond overseeing operations. Stadia launched the following month in select territories, including U.S. and Canada, and the L.A. studio was announced in March 2020. In his blog, Harrison confirmed that Raymond has now left Google.
- Google is not yet giving up on the tech behind Stadia, which lets users stream hi-res games on any screen as long as they have Google Chrome and a strong internet connection. The platform has received praise: when the flagship game Cyberpunk 2077 launched in December, it generally performed better on Stadia than on consoles.
- Google looks set to continue offering Stadia to third-party game companies. Harrison writes: “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.”
- Users can play games on Stadia by purchasing them individually. For $9.99/month, they can subscribe to Stadia Pro and access free games. Google has released no Stadia sales or subscriber numbers to date.