Google Stadia has already proven itself as a video game streaming service, with triple-A titles like Cyberpunk 2077 having made the jump to the platform. However, its big breakthrough remains a long way off, and the closure of the in-house Stadia Games & Entertainment points to a re-focusing of Stadia just 14 months after its launch.
Google has confirmed that it has shuttered its Stadia Games & Entertainment (SG&E) in-house studio. Announced in a blog post, the change applies to the studio in Los Angeles and Montreal. Reputedly, many former SG&E employees will be able to apply to work within other Google departments. However, it remains to be seen if Google can reposition game developers when it no longer has a studio. However, Jade Raymond, who was Studio Director of SG&E and had previously worked at Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, will leave Stadia.
Google has explained that near-term planned games will remain in development, but it will not be investing further in game development. The company justified the move as follows:
Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially. Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E…
The closure of SG&E ends an exciting part of Google’s initial vision for Stadia. Hinging everything on third-party games may make Stadia an even tougher sell to developers and consumers. Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have the draw of first-party exclusives, for example, along with an established user base. It is also strange to see Google can SG&E before it had the chance to develop any triple-A titles. Ultimately, we are struggling to see what will draw people to the Stadia, unless Google persuades studios to develop exclusive titles for the platform.
Alex Alderson, 2021-02- 2 (Update: 2021-02- 2)