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.”