Via a blog post, Google is shutting down its internal development studios, shifting focus from game-making to simply offering its cloud-based platform directly to publishers. Kotaku also first reported on this, stating that they were hearing rumblings from insiders that Google was "canceling multiple projects."
Launched in late 2019, Google's game streaming service has seemingly struggled to capture the attention many thought it might, especially as competition from Microsoft's own service, Project XCloud and Amazon's Luna streaming service have ramped up. Google will be shutting down its internal development studios located in Montreal and Los Angeles, which will impact "around 150 developers," though Google states they will be trying to find roles at Google for those affected, according to Kotaku,
Jade Raymond, known for her work on the Assassin's Creed franchise during her time at Ubisoft, who ran the game creation arm of Google's Stadia business will be leaving the company, according to Google's Stadia Blog announcing the news.
As such, the Stadia team is pivoting from creating games to pushing the tech of streaming games to any screen, with Phil Harrison staying on as Google's head of Stadia operations to pursue this avenue. This comes off Stadia's biggest game hitting the platform since its launched, with Cyberpunk 2077 releasing last December and proving to be a solid version to play over the maligned console versions.
Via the blog post:
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. 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 states that they are "committed to the future of cloud gaming" and will still be bringing titles from third parties to the Stadia platform, as well as offering the Stadia Pro subscription to those who choose to pick up the streaming service. For now, it'll be interesting to see where things go from here, as more games are slated to hit the platform this year, including The Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming Blackwood chapter in June.