Google Kills Stadia Games & Entertainment Team

Posted on February 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Google Stadia with 32 Comments

Google revealed today that it will halt all work on internal exclusives for Stadia and will focus the gaming service solely on third-party games.

“Having games streamed to any screen is the future of this industry, and we’ll continue to invest in Stadia and its underlying platform to provide the best cloud gaming experience for our partners and the gaming community,” Google vice president Phil Harrison revealed. “This has been the vision of Stadia since the beginning.”

Well, sort of.

Google originally envisioned that Stadia would be powered by both internal and external game developers and that its internal team, called Stadia Games & Entertainment (SG&E), would deliver exclusive content. Now, however, Google is closing down SG&E and it will no longer bring bringing exclusive content to Stadia beyond any near-term planned games.

“With the increased focus on using our technology platform for industry partners, [Google vice president] Jade Raymond has decided to leave Google to pursue other opportunities,” Harrison continues. “We greatly appreciate Jade’s contribution to Stadia and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Over the coming months, 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.”

Given Google’s history of killing off services, it’s natural that some will see this as the first step in Google eventually killing Stadia. But Harrison says that it is committed to cloud gaming and that it will continue to bring new titles from third parties to Stadia.

“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,” he writes. But he also seems to be hedging his bets a bit by noting that Google would also “expanding [its] efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology and deliver games directly to their players” in 2021. This suggests that this work could occur outside of 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,” he notes. “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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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Google Kills Stadia Games & Entertainment Team”

  1. Avatar

    yoshi

    Let's not forget, Stadia STILL doesn't work on the new Chromecast with Google TV.


    Google has no clue what they are doing with Stadia.

  2. Avatar

    vladimir

    In reply to RM:


    most people buy a game play it for a hundred hours and then leave it for good. It’s not that you care much after a a while.

    Today, if you don’t own/want to buy an expensive gaming pc, there are practically no alternatives to stadia. At least until series x and ps5 are impossible to find. Time will tell but I absolutely would not give stadia for dead

  3. Avatar

    jchampeau

    If Google leadership didn’t like the work the SG&E team were doing, they could have moved them to different jobs or fired them. They didn’t have to kill them.

  4. Avatar

    red.radar

    Google's inability to execute on a new and credible consumer product in the last 5 years (?) is starting to become a serious liability. As a consumer I can never be an early adopter because Google will get bored or after the first sign of trouble they will just give up.


    I get the idea of having the hunger of a startup, but there is something to be said for follow-through and stewardship.




  5. Avatar

    madthinus

    Well I guess they did not want to emulate the success of the Amazon studios.

  6. Avatar

    daveevad

    Ahh, one of my favorite paradoxes. Did Google kill the service because no one was using it OR was no one using it because they knew Google would kill the service...🤯

    • Avatar

      Pic889

      In reply to daveevad:

      The second one. Stadia requires the purchase of new hardware to be experienced properly, and most people know it's not wise to buy "1.x" versions of Google hardware. You can burn them once (Android 1.x smartphones), you can burn them twice (Google TV), maybe you can burn some loyal fans a third time (Android Wear 1.x smartwatches), but eventually most people get the message and wait for the 2.x hardware.

  7. Avatar

    doubledeej

    This is a great way to kill any confidence that anyone had in the service, even if Google does still intend to keep it going.


    How is anyone ever going to have faith in any new product that Google introduces moving forward?

  8. Avatar

    Daninbusiness

    I think that the core experience of actually playing a game on Stadia, streaming through to a browser, does work pretty well.


    I wasn't so taken with the experience that I would ditch my existing gaming hardware.


    I hope they can still find a workable business model.



  9. Avatar

    crunchyfrog

    GOOGLE - Where imagination and technology goes to die...

  10. Avatar

    crunchyfrog

    Well at least they still have search :(

  11. Avatar

    illuminated

    I wonder what is Google's definition of success. When can they continue developing/maintaining something that is not ads+search?

    It is as if ads team has the last say at google. Any service with not enough (billion+?) users or no easy way to push ads dies.

  12. Avatar

    ebraiter

    The continuing shutdown of services and applications.

    I am glad I kept a copy of Picassa before they killed that off. I know many who still wanted it around.

  13. Avatar

    dcdevito

    I think this is the right move, the fact that Cyberpunk2077 plays so well on this platform is all you need to know about Stadia.

  14. Avatar

    webdev511

    Despite Google with it's 150 side projects, they're learning that running a game studio is competitive, expensive and just darn hard. They'd probably be better off trying to be a publisher and bank rolling promising indy games instead of just completely bailing.

  15. Avatar

    bats

    Didn't Thurrott and Sams, along with other readers of this website, say that Stadia would be dead in a year after it's release in 2019? The answer is.....YES. Uh, last time I checked.....it's still very much alive.


    This analysis or anti-Stadia slant is trying to suggest that Stadia's fate is headed towards the graveyard. It may, but.....not anytime soon. As a matter of fact, it's starting (and I mean STARTING) to hit its stride.


    Also, I have said this before and I'll say it again. Google has a history of killing off a lot of their FREE service or almost free services. However, for the paid services....THEY DON'T. Stadia is a paid service, just like Workspace, Youtube Premium, and Youtube TV. LOL....I seriously doubt that Stadia will cease to exist anytime soon as anyone in this community seems to think.



  16. Avatar

    remc86007

    As someone who has jumped headfirst into nearly every Microsoft consumer project, I know it's a bit hypocritical, but I just cannot for the life of me understand why someone would buy games in the Stadia ecosystem.

    • Avatar

      Pic889

      In reply to remc86007:

      Users of ultra-portable laptops. A high-end Nvidia GPU is larger than the entire motherboard of an ultraportable laptop, not to mention the cooling it needs. Also, MacOS and ChromeOS users don't have many native gaming options anyway (even if the high-end mobile hardware existed).

  17. Avatar

    compsciguy31415

    All I can say is that I am glad that I did not actually pay for the stadia device and controller. I got it for free with YT Premium, so if they do shutter the service in a year or two, I'll just say "meh". The only loss I would incur is any game I purchase there will probably not transfer to another service, so for any new games, I might just use my Nvidia Shield for gaming instead of the Stadia.

  18. Avatar

    nazmuslabs

    Another for the the Google Graveyard. Only a matter of time before they axe

    the entire Stadia initiative, I think!

  19. Avatar

    RobCannon

    Google Kills Stadia (Headline coming soon).

  20. Avatar

    Patrick3D

    I wouldn't be surprised to see them compete or even buy-out Ubitus, Inc. to offer games on the Switch and other underpowered devices.

  21. Avatar

    jgraebner

    The headline alone makes this sound like a rather harsh decision. :)

  22. Avatar

    j5

    Back in the early 2000s, there was a cloud streaming console called The Phantom. The company was hyping up streaming games as the future, access to all the latest games. I remember reading about it in Next Generation magazine. I think they had a demo of Quake or one of those first-person shooters back then that was pretty popular but none of the big console games, console exclusives, and PC gaming was a big as console gaming back then. Well, the company flopped before they could even launch. They ended up selling their lap tilting keyboard for a while and that was it. But I remember thinking the same thing then about streaming games as I thought with Stadia and Microsoft's video game streaming service....nah pass!


    I know digital sales of games is a big thing now, that's how my sons prefer to get their games. But when you are really into playing video games having a badass PC or the latest console to play these games is part of the gaming experience. These companies have to keep up with The Tech Jones or risk missing out on an opportunity and they can afford to do, win or lose.


    I could be wrong, and usually am lol, but I don't see a long term future for video game streaming services. Just like the 3D and AR hype...hype and niche. Especially when you can get lots of great free and pay casual games on smartphones that could be like the latest PC or console that gives you that feeling of all kinds of stuff you can do plus casual gaming.

    • Avatar

      Awhispersecho

      In reply to j5:

      I was really excited for and rooting for the Phantom console back in the day. Not because I like streaming gaming because I don't, but because they were an underdog and I am always pulling for an underdog to come in and disrupt things. (This explains my crazy support for VMLabs Nuon as well)


      As for game streaming, I'm with you. I have zero interest in it. OK, I have a little interest in GeForce now only to very occasionally play a PC game from my couch through my Shield TV. But other than that, I want nothing to do with it and I will never subscribe to something like Xbox Game pass or Stadia, etc. I do however think there is a future for it at least from Sony and MS only because I think they are going to try real hard to herd everyone in that direction. It would save them tons of money not having to produce consoles 5-10 years from now.

      • Avatar

        j5

        In reply to Awhispersecho:

        Ah, a fellow old person lol j/k! Yeah, Phantom was cool and different. Their lapboard keyboard was very different for the time. I was interested in it because it was something new and different.


        I think Nintendo is the only company that's willing to task risks with console gaming. Sone and Microsoft just build better faster stronger of the same thing, more speed, processing, and storage but nothing risky or different. Which is fine but Phantom was a risk and different.


        We subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate because I think it's worth it versus dropping $60 plus every month or so for a new game that there's a good chance my sons won't like. It reminds me of the old BlockBuster and mom and pops renting NES game days. Most of the time the games were bad (uh LGN) but you got a chance to play the most popular ones.


        Well Sony & MC definitely have the resources and talent to evolve game streaming. And it is something to say all you need is a controller and maybe an HDMI dongle connected to your TV. But again that's a casual gaming thing and to me screams of the old Windows Media stuff of making your TV with Windows be your TV, video game screen, and computer...know what I mean?

  23. Avatar

    scovious

    Google cancelling products has been the vision since the beginning. What, they realized they can't put their Ads in games?

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