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Google scrapped Stadia studios due to 'level of investment required to reach scale,' say ex-Stadia devs

Two former Stadia devs claim Google's fleeting internal development plans unravelled because the tech giant underestimated "the level of investment required to reach scale."

Game Developer, Staff

August 11, 2021

2 Min Read

Former Stadia developers Alex Hutchinson and Reid Schneider claim Google's fleeting internal development plans unravelled because the tech giant seemingly underestimated "the level of investment required to reach scale."

Hutchinson and Schneider joined the Stadia team as senior creative director and executive producer, respectively, after Google purchased Journey to the Savage Planet developer Typhoon Studios, which they co-founded. 

Google acquired Typhoon in December 2019 to help create exclusive content for its fledgling cloud gaming platform, but less than two years later the company has pivoted away from internal development -- shutting down multiple studios and losing reams of creative talent -- to reposition Stadia as a platform provider. 

So, what happened? According to Hutchinson and Schneider, who've now reunited with a group of former Typhoon developers to launch new Montreal studio Raccoon Logic (while also nabbing the rights to Savage Planet in the process), Google lacked the steel or financial commitment required to turn itself into a bonafide first-party development house.

"I think [Google] realized that content is scary and risky and expensive and takes lots of trust in people, and it just wasn’t their core business. I still believe in the possibilities of Stadia though, and I really hope they deliver and it succeeds so we can ship games on it," said Hutchinson, when asked for their take on the Stadia story (so far).

Schneider offered a similarly bittersweet assessment, and explained that while Google is an "amazing platform company," it perhaps struggled to adjust to the realities of multi-studio game development.

"In my honest opinion, I think it just came down to the level of investment required to reach scale. From what we saw at Google, the sense was that if the initiative does not have the potential to reach billions of people then it's better for them to deploy the workforce/capital into other areas," chimed Schneider. 

"During our time there we also Microsoft acquire Bethesda for around $7 billion, and Amazon’s continued challenges in launching top titles. It's not hard to imagine why a company as successful as Google would reconsider its original planning with forces like that in the world."

You can hear more from Hutchinson and Schneider, including what they've got planned for their new Tencent-backed studio Raccoon Logic, by reading our full story.

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