Google Stadia‘s first full year on the market didn’t prove it to be the game changer it was pitched as. And given this rocky start, Google is shutting down all of its internal development studios just a about a year after it first came out. This studio shut down not only changes the game for Stadia exclusives, but also has others asking if Stadia itself is shutting down.
Is Google Stadia shutting down?
As reported on by Kotaku and then later confirmed by the company itself, the electronics giant is closing its internal studios and canceling “basically any games slated for release beyond a specific 2021 window.” These two studios are in Montreal and Los Angeles, the former of which might be formerly known as Typhoon Studios, which developed 2020’s Journey to the Savage Planet before being acquired. Around 150 people will be affected, but the company claims it will try to find places for those developers within Google.
Jade Raymond, producer on the first Assassin’s Creed and executive producer on its sequel, joined Stadia in 2019 to lead its development operations, but she will be leaving the company. Phil Harrison, Google’s head of Stadia operations, wished her well in the above letter.
This move casts a dark shadow on Stadia’s future, even if current subscribers can continue to play their games. Lacking internal teams and “not be investing further in bringing exclusive content” makes it hard to bring people to the platform since many would likely rather play those same experiences elsewhere without lag. A dry well of exclusives and general player apathy toward an expensive and separate game streaming ecosystem does not bode well for the platform in its current form.
But rather than shutting down, it seems like Google is pivoting and trying to adapt to this setback. The company is going to start offering its streaming technology to other publishers, making Google more of a partner rather than a platform holder. Harrison is allegedly going to try and seek such partnerships and said Google “believe[s] this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry.”