Google Stadia is barely out of its diapers, and just when it started to leave a mark, the company is taking a major decision that will alter the future course of the cloud-based game streaming service. Google has today announced that it is shutting down SG&E – the in-house game development studio that once aimed to make first-party games for the platform to compete against the likes of Microsoft’s xCloud, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, and Amazon’s fresh-out-of-the-oven Luna service. Google will now focus on bringing more third-party games to the platform.
“Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially. Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games,” Google said in its blog post. Google also revealed that Jade Raymond, who headed the Stadia Games & Entertainment division and was tasked with making exclusive games, is also leaving the company.
Focusing on Stadia’s future as a platform, and winding down SG&E : https://t.co/HsZUcGXbtZ— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) February 1, 2021
Now that Google’s ambitions of making first-party Stadia games are also winding down, the company will be focusing on partnering with other developers and bringing more third-party games to the platform. As for the GS&E team, the search giant mentions that they will be assigned new roles. Google will now direct its energy towards further enhancing the Stadia infrastructure and letting other developers make the most of it for bringing their games to the platform.
Google’s departure from the game-development party is also a clear sign that when it comes to making a AAA title, things are not always as easy as they look. Despite being a trillion-dollar company and having a well-received cloud-based game streaming service that was finally inching towards maturity in 2021, Google apparently couldn’t crack the notoriously complex and high-pressure code of AAA game development.
Shutting down Stadia game development division has a silver lining too
The decision to quit game development is not entirely surprising though, and actually sounds like a good decision in the hindsight. Why? Well, the search giant would much rather prefer not making first-party games at all, than investing some serious money, time, and effort in a property that bombs and brings down the reputation of Stadia with it. Just take a look at what happened with Cyberpunk 2077!
Plus, with third-party games, the Stadia division won’t have to put its reputation at stake with poor games, and will now be able to focus on upscaling and further improving the inherent technology. “We see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools. We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry,” Google adds.
Google definitely has pockets deep enough to lure the biggest game developers to its platform, and offering the best cloud-based gaming experience by focusing more on improving the underlying technology might just give Google an edge in the domain where Microsoft is its key rival right now.