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Google Closed Its Game Studios For This Baffling Reason

Google Stadia had a rough journey from the beginning, ultimately leading to the closure of Google's original content studio earlier this year. The gaming platform had promise, and even though no one anticipated Google venturing into the world of gaming, fans felt excited. Now, Google Stadia's crew of game developers are left wondering why they're suddenly jobless just over a year after Stadia launched.

The reasons remain mostly unclear, but Google vice president and general manager Phil Harrison has reportedly addressed the topic behind the scenes. In an exclusive report from Kotaku, four sources "with knowledge of what transpired" filled in the gaps for confused fans.

Google has always had some things it likes to keep secret, and it seems that the true motivation behind Google's Stadia shift might also be private. Kotaku's sources stated that it might be related to recent acquisitions at Microsoft. During a Q&A with Google employees working on Stadia, Harrison "pointed specifically to Microsoft's buying spree and planned acquisition of Bethesda Software later this year" as a cause for Google abandoning game development. The article did not elaborate on how Microsoft's purchases affected Google specifically, though it noted Harrison's explanation confused some staff.

Harrison also blamed the global pandemic for Google Stadia's lackluster performance. Many gaming companies experienced growth and boosted sales thanks to people staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's not entirely clear why Harrison believed Google was negatively impacted and other competitors were not.

After making a few last ditch efforts to stay afloat, Harrison announced a few weeks ago that Google Stadia would close its game development studios in order to focus solely on bringing third-party content to its platform. Harrison explained via blog that "most of the SG&E team will be moving on to new roles" outside of game development. Harrison's post also stated that "creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially."

As the Kotaku article points out, money shouldn't be a concern for Google, as it's one of the richest companies in the world. Many studios release successful games that were created by just one person, so the size of the team doesn't necessarily equate success. Yet even if size and money were the most important aspects of game development, Google has both in spades. Regardless of what reasons Harrison gave for Google's decision to shut down its first-party studios, fans and staff members probably won't get clear answers anytime soon.