Google Stadia VP lauded developers for ‘great progress’ a week before gaming studios shutdown
It seems Stadia leadership was not transparent with the team about the decision to shut down the in-house gaming studios.
Stadia developers were shocked to find out that Google had planned to shut down the in-house gaming studios. According to a Kotaku report, developers learned about the shutdown at almost the same time as everyone through an internal email and conference call with Google Stadia VP and GM Phil Harrison.
Interestingly, just a week before the shutdown, Harrison had sent an email to staff commending the “great progress” the studios had made.
“[Stadia Games and Entertainment] has made great progress building a diverse and talented team and establishing a strong lineup of Stadia exclusive games,” Harrison's wrote in the email, according to Kotaku sources. “We will confirm the SG&E investment envelope shortly, which will, in turn, inform the SG&E strategy and 2021 [objectives and key results].”
A few days later Harrison announced in a public post that Google was not going to invest in the internal development of games for Stadia. The report suggests the Stadia leadership was not honest with the staff.
According to the report, Harrison in a second conference call with developers expressed regret over his previous statements. During the call, he acknowledged that nothing had changed from the week prior and did know about the shutdown.
Google earlier this month said that the company was not going to invest in developing its games for its cloud-based gaming service. The company added that it was going to focus on “bolstering Stadia” for its industry partners. The move meant shutdown of its much-publicised gaming studios in Los Angeles and Montreal. Jade Raymond, who led the Stadia gaming studios, will be leaving the company.
“Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially. 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,” Google had said in a blog post.
Launched in 2019, Google Stadia aimed to bring gaming experience on-the-go. The content library has gradually gotten diverse. Availability of newer hardware has also helped the platform gain more traction.