Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Google Stadia shuts down internal game studios

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Google Stadia, the tech giant’s video game streaming platform that launched in 2019, is closing its in-house game development studios and refocusing on offering its technology platform to third-party publishers, the company ad On Monday.

As first reported by Kotaku, Google will close its two Stadia Games & Entertainment studios located in Los Angeles and Montreal. The shutdown will affect around 150 employees, a source told Kotaku. Google says it will try to find new roles in the business for those affected.

“With the recent successful launch of Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia, the gameplay on all types of devices including iOS, the development of our range of YouTube integrations and our global expansions, it’s clear that Stadia’s technology has made it happen. proven and works at scale, ”Google vice president of Stadia and chief executive Phil Harrison said in a statement. “Having games streamed to any screen is the future of this industry, and we will continue to invest in Stadia and its underlying platform to deliver the best cloud gaming experience to our partners and to the gaming community. That’s Stadia’s vision from the start. “

Jade Raymond, the famous producer who helped bring Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise to life, is also stepping down from her role as head of game development at Google.

What does this mean for Stadia subscribers? Google says gamers can still access their games on Stadia (or Stadia Pro for $ 10 per month) and that third-party games will continue to stream on the service. It’s unclear how many third-party games Google plans to host on Stadia.

A key pillar of Google’s new strategy is to bring Stadia’s game streaming technology to other interested companies. Google’s Stadia COO, Phil Harrison, will lead this initiative.

Google Stadia was launched with some hype, but a rocky start due to technical issues and a thin library of games turned out to be the downfall of the service. Ironically, Cyberpunk 2077 Stadia version has proven to be one of the most reliable platforms for playing the notoriously buggy open world RPG.

Google also scaled back its own Stadia Pro subscription plan by finally offering a free version of the service in April 2020. Although Google has gradually narrowed its list of missing features and amenities, its obvious lack of proprietary games has proven to remain a problem. In IGN’s own review, we saw absolutely no reason to subscribe to Stadia Pro while the free service also remained viable. Stadia also experienced stiff competition from Microsoft XCloud Service, which similarly streamed a wide variety of games to almost any device provided the internet connection was strong enough. A common concern among Stadia skeptics was whether Google would invest long enough in the service for it to realize its potential, a fear that now seems justified.

Despite Google’s seemingly immense influence in the tech world, the company appeared to be under-resourced or delivering a major game. A source familiar with Stadia’s first-half work said Kotaku: “Google was a terrible place to make games. Imagine Amazon, but underfunded. “

Joseph Knoop is a writer / producer for IGN.

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