One week before Google announced the closure of Stadia Games and Entertainment, a studio that developed first-party games for Stadia, executives praised staff for making “great strides” and “building a diverse and talented team.”
According to a report from KotakuReferring to four sources with knowledge of the situation, Google Stadia Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison was the one who sent out the seemingly optimistic email. Then came mass solutions about a week later, shocking developers. The email address that shares is in Kotaku’s report, does not appear to indicate that a closure was imminent – far from it.
In a blog post about a week later, Harrison announced that Google would no longer invest in developing first-party content for its video game streaming platform. Apparently, developers at SG&E learned about the news not long before it was published.
“The messy rollout came after an already tiring year of working through the pandemic,”
Following the announcement, Stadia developers have confronted Harrison about his previous email in which he praised the in-house studio. Harrison reportedly apologized for the misleading statements, despite already knowing that the developers would be out of work.
They told the anonymous developers Kotaku they had “multi-year assurances” that they would have the support and resources to deliver AAA titles. Unfortunately, it does not sound like the developers got much transparency about what happened. Harrison previously claimed that it was the “significant investment” required to make the best-in-class games that judged the studios.
When Stadia was announced, part of the service’s high pitch was the release of exclusive titles made by in-house studios. The service is still expected to launch some titles that were already nearing completion, along with a lot of third-party content. But the kind of software that makes the service a “must have” may never come now that the studio has closed.
“I think people really just wanted the truth about what happened,” a source said Kotaku. “They just want an explanation from the management.”