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Google Stadia's Announcement Has Fans Worried

The road's been pretty rocky for Google Stadia since it first launched in late 2019. The platform arrived without many of its promised features, and Stadia has lacked the flashy first-party exclusives boasted by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. There was hope Google could compete by making its own games, and the company built two new studios for exactly this reason. Unfortunately, after a little more than one year in business, both of these studios are being shut down.


In a post published on the Stadia blog, Google's Phil Harrison explained the changes that are coming to Google Stadia.

"In 2021, we're expanding our efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology and deliver games directly to their players," Harrison said. He later added, "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."

If that sounds a little vague to you, that's because it is. What Harrison is saying there is that Google Stadia is essentially exploring an entirely new business model — one where it becomes more of a tech platform and less of a direct competitor to PCs and gaming consoles. Harrison also isn't being totally clear about what employees of SG&E "moving on to new roles" means. Kotaku reported this out, however, and what it means is this: Google is closing its Montreal studio as well as its Los Angeles studio. Jade Raymond, the former Ubisoft and EA producer who was brought on to lend Google some cred, is also departing.


As you can imagine, this news has fans of Google Stadia pretty shaken up. The Stadia subreddit, for example, is full of comments from those who feel Stadia could be on the ropes.

"The public opinion is that Stadia is all but dead now, and there was very little official comms to counter that. Nothing to reassure people," wrote one user. "I love Stadia. I'm a founder. You can even call me a fanboy," wrote another. "However, this is the announcement that killed Stadia. As much as I love Stadia, I can no longer recommend it in good faith to anyone."

As of now, it appears nothing about Stadia will change immediately. The two studios Google is closing hadn't released any games. Stadia will continue to operate as a service that hosts third-party titles. There is a sense in the Stadia community, however, that Google could be preparing to walk away from yet another product. Only time will tell if that is indeed the case.