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Devs offer a look inside Stadia's fall, and the mismatch of Google and games

"It seemed there were executive-level people not fully grasping how to navigate through a space that is highly creative, cross-disciplinary."

Alissa McAloon

February 26, 2021

2 Min Read

“It seemed there were executive-level people not fully grasping how to navigate through a space that is highly creative, cross-disciplinary.”

- One developer within Google Stadia discusses the tech giant's struggling steps into the game industry.

Google's foray in game development was short lived, despite the best hopes of the 150 game developers Google hired on to power its internal push into first-party development. The company announced last week that it was giving up on development and would close the Stadia Games and Entertainment arm it only really started staffing up in March 2019.

Several developers that joined up with Stadia Games and Entertainment described what that brief focus on game development was like from the inside in a recent story from Wired, tracing the avoidable obstacles and red flags that plagued Google's too-little-too-late attempt at getting into the business of games.

Developers tell Wired that Google wanted to make games with the goal of highlighting Stadia itself, but didn't start even hiring until Stadia was months away from launch. First-party games that it did have in development were clearly being developed to drive more users toward Stadia, rather than to create enticing games that could stand on their own.

"For a long time, the mandate for games included requirements to espouse the Stadia-specific mentality, so, like, taking advantage of features meant specifically for Stadia," recalls one dev.

Developers explain that Google's complicated hiring process, coupled with a hiring freeze one year into Stadia Games and Entertainment's lifespan, left teams without the headcount needed to properly develop projects that met Google's expectations.

Many factors contributed to Google's eventual decision to shut down Stadia's first party development efforts down for good, ranging from fundamental differences in how tech companies and game development companies function to motivations that proved incompatible with a successful studio.  Find more in the full Wired story here.

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