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Google shuts down internal Stadia game studio

Stadia will now focus on third-party games

Phil Harrison presents the Google Stadia Controller Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Google is shutting down its internal game development studios tasked with making video games for Stadia, the company’s game-streaming platform. Stadia GM and vice president Phil Harrison announced the closure of Stadia Games and Entertainment on Monday on the Stadia blog.

“Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially,” Harrison said. “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, beyond any near-term planned games.”

Stadia Games and Entertainment vice president Jade Raymond is leaving Google, Harrison confirmed. The decision to shut down its internal studios will impact approximately 150 developers, according to a report from Kotaku. Harrison says “most of the SG&E team will be moving on to new roles. We’re committed to working with this talented team to find new roles and support them.”

Google announced Stadia Games and Entertainment in 2019, with Raymond serving as VP of the game studio. Stadia Games and Entertainment comprised multiple studios, with locations in Los Angeles and Montreal. The Stadia game development team was expected to “reimagine the new generation of games,” Raymond said in 2019, and work with external developers to make Google’s Stadia technology available to partner studios.

Harrison said that Google will continue to support Stadia, and expand its effort to help third-party developers and publishers bring their games to the cloud gaming platform.

“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.”

Google Stadia launched in select markets in November 2019, promising games streamed from the cloud to non-console platforms. The cloud-gaming platform was initially available on a variety of devices, including personal computers, Android smartphones, and Google Chromecast. At launch, Stadia users were required to purchase a Google Stadia Premiere Edition, a $129 bundle that included a Chromecast Ultra, a wireless Stadia Controller, and three months of Stadia Pro, the service that offered free games and video streams up to 4K resolution and 60 frames per second with HDR lighting. In April 2020, Google reduced the buy-in cost of Stadia, making it free for anyone with a Gmail address, as well as offering two free months of Stadia Pro, which included access to nine games at that time.