Google Is Shutting Down Stadia Games Studio

After launching in November 2019, Google announced that Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E) is shutting down. In a blog post from Phil Harrison, Vice President of Google Stadia, the announcement suggests a drastic refocusing and reallocating of resources within the development team.

Though Stadia will still remain up and running, as will Stadia Pro for $10 per month, the development team will be leaving their positions within the company. The blog post didn’t specify how many employees will be shifting around within Google as of yet. 

Google Stadia was ready to bring you gaming to whatever screen you wanted, with an emphasis on mobile use. However, any die-hard subscribers will have to make peace with the upcoming end of new Stadia games.

High Expectations, Low Impact

If you’re a Stadia user, no need to worry. Harrison assures that new “near-term planned games” will still come to the platform. For instance, Madden 21 will still be available for Stadia users. However, apart from the final rollouts, you’re not going to see any new games from the SG&E developers.

Amidst the canceled long-term projects, Jade Raymond, who was an executive for Stadia Games and founder of Ubisoft Toronto and Motive Studios, left the team. Her decision indicates the new direction for the platform. 

It may seem like the mighty have fallen, but in reality, Stadia never lived up to the hype or expectations. Back before the platform launched at the end of 2019, it seemed to have the potential to change the industry of gaming. Some even called it the “Netflix of gaming.” Unfortunately, it didn’t take off. Of course, Stadia has plenty of subscribers, but the impact never came. 

Still, you have to give Google props for the concept. High-resolution gaming through the cloud? It makes perfect sense for the tech- and cloud-based era the world is currently in. There was something missing though. Stadia could’ve used a smash hit game to draw people in. However, Google may have gone about gaming all wrong. 

Big Tech in Gaming

You may have noticed a new trend developing in the gaming world. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone inside, Nintendo Switch consoles flew off the shelves and gaming, altogether, became a main activity, a way to distract from reality. With that shift, big tech companies amped up their gaming ventures.

In a report, about 70% of respondents stated that gaming will only get more challenging in the coming years due to competitive pressures. Of course, with such growth, big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple are hopping on board. 

With the exception of Microsoft’s success through Xbox, there’s a recurring theme here. Big tech gaming ventures are not paying off. Google Stadia is scaling back dramatically, and the others — Facebook Gaming, Apple Arcade, Prime Gaming from Amazon — still haven’t found their footing. Why is that?

SG&E is one instance in a trend. Big tech companies are seemingly out of touch with what gamers want. Though there’s plenty of criticism to go around for other platforms, big tech’s costly strides are largely not paying off. They’ll need strong, innovative games that intrigue people. They’ll need ways to engage players with straightforward controls, and they’ll need to keep that momentum going to succeed. 

The End of a Short Era

In the grand scheme of things, Stadia was a short-lived experience. Though the system itself will stay up and you can still play all the games it offers, it’s the end of development for SG&E.

If this flop is an indication of a trend, then other big tech gaming platforms may need to buckle up for a bumpy ride. Ultimately, it’s important to listen to what gamers want. That’s where the money and impact will be.

If you’re a Google Stadia user, how do you feel about the news? Will you be leaving the platform entirely?