Google has closed its internet game development studio, the company announced, and is abandoning the idea that Stadia, its groundbreaking streaming service, could be a top-tier competitor to traditional game consoles.
In a blog post by Phil Harrison, the former Microsoft and Sony executive who was hired to plan Google’s push into console games, Stadia’s CEO confirmed he was lowering his ambitions, but insisted that the company’s core vision of “having games streamed to any screen, “was still workable.
“In 2021, we will expand our efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology and deliver games directly to their players,” said Harrison. “We see an important opportunity to work with partners looking for a gaming solution based on the advanced technical infrastructure and tools of the Stadia platform. We believe this is the best way to turn Stadia into a long-term sustainable company that helps grow the industry. “
But Stadia’s “new approach” also causes Google to abandon its attempts to create games exclusively for the platform. The company’s internal development team, SG&E, is being disbanded, resulting in the loss of approximately 150 jobs, and only “short-term planned games” are expected to be released. SG&E has yet to finish a single game, and its high-profile leader, former Ubisoft producer Jade Raymond, will also be leaving Google, Harrison confirmed.
Stadia will continue to function as a consumer offering, the company confirmed, with third-party games to be brought to the platform. “Our goal remains focused on creating the best possible platform for gamers and technology for our partners, bringing these experiences to life for people around the world,” Harrison wrote.
In practice, however, there are few significant partners Stadia can work with. Of the major console makers, Nintendo has historically valued hardware control, while Microsoft and Sony own and operate a substantially mature cloud gaming service.
The launch of Stadia in 2019 was disappointing. The service was only available to those who paid over a hundred pounds for the Founder’s Edition, which included a standalone controller and a Chromecast to cast to a TV, as well as three months of the Stadia Pro subscription service. But for your money, the first few In adopting, they could only play a handful of titles, including just one exclusive to Stadia, and most games require an additional payment of full PVP before being available. Promised features, such as the ability to join a game directly from a YouTube live stream or share a URL that would allow players to jump to a save game with one click, weren’t present and some have yet to be released.
But Stadia received praise for accomplishing the difficult task of creating a game streaming service that worked: With low latency and high resolutions, at least on fast connections, Google’s technical prowess was on the horizon.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism