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Google Stadia shut down first-party studios, fired 150 staff

Google Stadia

A new report from Kotaku has shed more light on the trouble that Google Stadia is in. Rumors of a Google Stadia shut down have lingered since before the service even launched, that how bad many cynical gamers took to the idea.  When Google Stadia and its paid tier landed in late 2019, people were skeptical. The shallow launch lineup, of only 12 games, left many hopeful for more. But here we are months later and things look even worse.

Google will now be shuttering all of its first-party Stadia studios, and all their staff will either be fired or shuffled around internally. The two studios, located in Montreal and Los Angeles, have not released any games for the platform. The company is announcing the news today that multiple projects at these studios have also been canned. Some high-profile departures include Jade Raymond, who jumped ship to Google to help steer efforts for Stadia in the creation of new games. She will be leaving Google to pursue other opportunities.

We can probably point to a few different causes for all this. It would seem that the uptake of Google Stadia Pro subs hadn’t hit levels needed to sustain the project, as the newly announced closure would indicate. It would also appear that those $129 Founder’s Edition bundles were not too popular, as they were a key selling point for Stadia Pro—which relied heavily on an influx of new first-party games and ports to keep subscribers.

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The company originally had plans to add more than 100 games to the service, which it has yet to do. It even took them forever to get full 4K support going on the platform, which wasn’t enabled until well after launch. Their various studio acquisitions seem to be unaffected, it would appear that Typhoon, who made Journey to the Savage Planet, will be shuffled around to other jobs within Google.

Despite all of this, Stadia isn’t going away just yet. The service will continue to run in its current state. Although I wouldn’t be hopeful of new games being added anytime soon. The focus of Stadia will now be to work with other development studios and publishers to port games to the platform. Google will take a more background role and facilitate the transition from PC and mobile game creation, and instead push for more exposure through more games.

Stadia head Phil Harrison was optimistic and sees a bright future for Stadia. “We see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools,” Harrison wrote in a blog post today. “We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry.”

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