Midway through the game, Google has decided to change its strategy. Stadia, the streaming game service that the company launched at the end of 2019, will now focus exclusively on servicing large studios to distribute its games and Google will close the two studios it had founded to create exclusive titles for the platform.
Building great games from scratch takes many years and a significant investment, and the cost increases exponentially. Given our focus on building on proven Stadia technology, we have decided that we will not invest more in bringing exclusive content beyond any short-planned games. the term the company announced today in a brief statement on its website.
The decision affects more than 150 workers that Google hired in 2019 to develop titles that were originally going to be only available on Stadia. The list includes Jade Raymond, an award-winning veteran producer who helped build the Assassin’s Creed franchise at Ubisoft, and who Google put in charge of the two studios created in Los Angeles and Vancouver to carry out this mission. According to the company, Raymond has left the company.
The decision to found own studios seemed logical in 2019. In the world of video games, exclusive launches for a platform are the best way to get a captive audience. Streaming gaming technology, while promising, is still in its infancy. With games that were not going to be playable on any other platform, Google made sure that at least some players tested the service.
The launch of Cyberpunk 2077 has changed everything. It has been one of the worst releases in the history of videogames in memory due to the many performance problems and programming errors, and that despite having suffered numerous delays.
But on Stadia, paradoxically, it has worked very well. Many gamers who knew they didn’t have a powerful enough console or PC to run the game have tried their luck with this novel streaming idea. The game is buggy, as on all platforms, but the gaming experience is notably better than what the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions offer, for example.
Google also helped popularize this alternative with a promotion that included the gift of remote control and a Chromecast Ultra to be able to play on television, a set with a value much higher than that of the game.
With the recent successful launch of Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia, playability on all types of devices including iOS, the growth of our YouTube integrations roster, and our global expansions, it is clear that Stadia’s technology has been tested and works to scale, explains Phil Harrison, who is responsible for the platform.
Now Google will focus on offering the technological solution to third parties to try to make the catalog of available games expand as quickly as possible. It is a promising business but one in which there is a lot of competition. Amazon and Nvidia, for example, also have streaming game services already up and running.
Stadia will continue to exist in its two current modes. The basic service is free. The player only has to buy the game in the Stadia “version” and they will be able to play it from mobiles, tablets, PCs, and SmartTVs with 1080p resolution and the graphic features expected from a high-end PC.
In addition to the basic service, Google offers Stadia Pro for 9.99 euros per month. This service adds the ability to play in 4K quality, discounts on some titles, surround sound, and a catalog of free games that changes from month to month, similar to the offers that Sony and Microsoft offer for console players in subscription programs Playstation Plus and Games with Gold, respectively.