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Game over: Google to shutter its in-house Stadia game development studio

Google is shuttering its internal game development studio for Stadia, the company’s cloud-based gaming platform.

In a message posted on Monday, February 1, the web giant cited high costs as one of the reasons for its decision, adding that the move will allow it to focus on enhancing Stadia for third-party developers and building its business partnerships.

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The closure comes 14 months after Google launched Stadia for gaming fans, particularly casual players who don’t already own a console.

In preparation for the November 2019 launch, the company created the Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E) unit eight months earlier to build its own software for the service. But its two offices — in Montreal and Los Angeles — will now be closed.

“Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially,” Google Stadia’s Phil Harrison wrote in a post announcing the decision. “Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia, as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E beyond any near-term planned games.”

Jade Raymond, head of SG&E, will leave Google to pursue other opportunities, Harrison said, adding that over the coming months, most of the SG&E team will be given new roles within the company.

To confirm, Stadia will continue as a platform, but all new games added to the service will now come from third-party developers and publishers.

The move to close SG&E is a notable setback for Google’s once-lofty ambitions in the gaming space, with the company now taking a back seat when it comes to game development.

Google — together with parent company Alphabet — has always been quick to dismantle projects that it feels are not working out. Just last month, for example, it also shuttered its Loon balloon internet project after revealing that it was finding it difficult to turn the service into a commercially viable business.

Yet to try Stadia? Digital Trends has some top tips for the best games currently available on the service. Stadia Pro is free to try for one month and $10 a month thereafter. A free tier is also available.

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