Google shifts Stadia to focus on cloud technology and partnerships, closes internal game studios

Both studios will be closed and Stadia will now focus on technical infrastructure and platform tools.

Image via Google

Google is restructuring its approach to the Stadia game streaming platform, expanding efforts to support and work with game developers and publishers while also toning down internal development, the company announced today.

The company hoped that Stadia would impact the gaming scene by providing a platform that would let users stream games on computers, tablets, and phones that didn’t necessarily meet the technical requirements for certain titles. But now, Google is pivoting the Stadia service to focus on tech and third-party content. 

“In 2021, we’re expanding our efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology and deliver games directly to their players,” Stadia vice president and manager Phil Harrison said. “We see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools. We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry.”

Google will close both of its internal game studios without the Montreal or Los Angeles teams releasing a single game, according to Kotaku. This decision will impact nearly 150 developers, though Google is reportedly looking to redistribute those employees within the company. 

When Stadia launched in 2019, Google brought in talented developers from across the industry to create games for the platform, many of which are likely going to leave the company to find work elsewhere. Former Ubisoft and EA producer Jade Raymond, who worked as VP and head of Stadia Games, has already decided to pursue other opportunities.

Moving forward, Google will continue supporting Stadia as a service, both at the entry-level and its Stadia Pro $10 monthly subscription. Games will still be coming to the platform, but the company “will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team.”

Google’s post did say that any “near-term planned games” that were already being developed could still be released in the future.

Instead of working internally to create and release exclusive content, the Stadia team will look to find new partnerships centered on using the service’s “advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools” to deliver games directly to players. 

“We’re committed to the future of cloud gaming, and will continue to do our part to drive this industry forward,” Harrison said. “Our goal remains focused on creating the best possible platform for gamers and technology for our partners, bringing these experiences to life for people everywhere.”

Both Microsoft and Amazon have their own cloud streaming options with Xbox xCloud and Amazon Luna, meaning Google might have wanted to pull out before it invested even further in a field that’s growing more competitive.