On February 1st, Google made a surprise announcement to close its in-house Stadia game development studio. But the news wasn’t just a surprise to Stadia’s customers. According to a report from Kotaku, it was blue for the Studio development team, who was said to have made great strides in the studio just a week ago.
[Stadia Games and Entertainment] Phil Harrison, Google’s vice president and general manager of Stadia, sent an email to staff received by Kotaku on January 27, making great strides in building a diverse and talented team and establishing a strong lineup of Stadia-only games. Achieved. This email further promised news about the strategy and goals of the 2021 Stadia studio. However, Harrison has announced that instead of a new development goal, the studio will be completely closed on February 1st, a few days later.
The biggest question from both outside observers and Stadia team members is what has changed. Harrisons’ blog post, which announced the shutdown, cites, for example, the exponential increase in costs for creating best-in-class games. But given Google’s market capitalization of $ 1.4 trillion, the only reason to shut down the company’s game development studio altogether is, especially if they have little time to prove themselves. It’s hard to imagine.
In a Q & A with staff on February 4, Harrison reportedly admitted that Google executives had already known that a shutdown was coming when they sent an email praising the team’s progress. Kotaku also reports that Harrison has cited Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda and the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic as factors in the shutdown.
In any case, there is one obvious thing. By shutting down the studio before shipping Stadia’s major first-party exclusive products, Google showed the world that it wasn’t too serious about the game, not just the staff. An initiative that once appeared. And in the end, it’s a shame for both the future of Stadias and the industry as a whole.
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