Google made the surprise announcement on February 1st that it will be shuttering its in-house Stadia sport growth studios. However the information wasn’t only a shock to Stadia prospects; it was a bolt from the blue for the Stadia growth staff, which, only a week prior, had been informed that the studios had been making “nice progress,” according to a report from Kotaku.
“[Stadia Games and Entertainment] has made nice progress constructing a various and gifted staff and establishing a powerful lineup of Stadia unique video games,” mentioned Phil Harrison, a vp at Google and common supervisor for Stadia, on January twenty seventh in an e mail to employees obtained by Kotaku. The e-mail promised extra information on the Stadia studios’ technique and targets for 2021. However as a substitute of recent growth goals, Harrison introduced simply days in a while February 1st that the studios can be shutting down completely.
The most important query — each from outdoors observers and Stadia staff members alike — is what modified. Harrison’s weblog put up asserting the shutdowns cites “exponentially” rising prices of “creating best-in-class video games” as an element, for instance. However given Google’s $1.4 trillion market cap, it’s laborious to think about that as the only real purpose for shutting down the corporate’s sport growth studios completely, particularly once they got so little time to show themselves.
In a Q&A with employees on February 4th, Harrison reportedly admitted that Google’s execs already knew the shutdown was coming when he despatched the e-mail praising the staff’s progress. Kotaku additionally reviews that Harrison variously cited Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda and the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic as elements within the shutdown.
Regardless of the case could also be, one factor is evident: by shutting down its studios earlier than they even managed to ship any main first-party exclusives for Stadia, Google has proven not solely its employees but additionally the world that it isn’t as severe about its gaming initiatives because it as soon as appeared. And in the end, that’s a disappointing factor to see, each for Stadia’s future and for the trade at giant.