Launched on November 19, 2019, Stadia has never managed to woo gamers and the industry. After a catastrophic start, Google bought two studios with a lot of promises. Big announcements, big third-party games, the arrival of first exclusives and more. Alas, Google will not be able to keep its word. The firm formalizes the closure of its two studios, the departure of a key person from the project and a change in the economic model.
Google closes its development division
Google had promised to revolutionize the world of video games. From day one, they announced that the future of this medium was not in a console. Obviously, the future will not be on Stadia either. After a very complicated start, Google has failed to come up. Today, we learn that the firm will close its Stadia Games and Entertainment division, which is made up of two studios based in Los Angeles and Montreal.
This implies the cancellation of all current projects (the exclusive games), but also the layoffs of 150 employees. Google has said the company is trying to find another position for developers so as not to leave them out of work. For her part, Jade Raymond, the director of the division, leaves her post and leaves Stadia at the same time. According to the statement from Google, this would be a resignation and not a dismissal. As for Phil Harrison, the boss of Google Stadia, the latter keeps his post.
Google Stadia is not (yet) dead
The year 2021 had to be good for Stadia. Google had promised big ads, the service was to spread thanks to to its integration on Android TVs. Alas, the year is off to a bad start. For subscribers to the service, no fear, Stadia is not going to stop (for the moment). Google confirms that its Pro service at € 10 per month will continue to operate. However, the “free” version may be phased out soon. In addition, it is certain that there will be no exclusive games in the future. As for third-party games, Google says it wants to attract other publishers to offer their games in the catalog. Unfortunately without much certainty.
Google already seems to be changing direction since the firm has said it wants to offer its technology to publishers, thus opening the possibility for Stadia to become the streaming technology for other video game companies.
We see a significant opportunity to work with partners to find a gaming solution based on the technical infrastructure and advanced platform tools from Stadia. We believe this is the best way to make Stadia a sustainable, long-term business that contributes to the growth of the industry.
The future therefore seems uncertain for Stadia, but it is already difficult to see how the service could compete with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo without offering exclusivity and significant games at the time of their release.