The news of Google Stadia closing down its first-party development studio came as a bit of a shock. While fans of the console were surprised, employees working within the Stadia Games and Entertainment division were even more shocked. This was especially the case given that there weren’t any negative remarks or reports prior to the announcement. However, it also looks as though the development team had earned praise right before their layoffs.
The news comes as emails from Stadia vice president Phil Harrison were leaked to the public. In them, he had told the Stadia Games and Entertainment team that it had made great progress in the year since being established. As he said:
“[Stadia Games and Entertainment] has made great progress building a diverse and talented team and establishing a strong lineup of Stadia exclusive games. We will confirm the SG&E investment envelope shortly, which will, in turn, inform the SG&E strategy and 2021 [objectives and key results].”
Naturally, the subsequent dismissals meant that there were conflicting messages being delivered to the team. After all, it’s hard for many people to be told that they’re doing a great job, only for the whole team to be liquidated weeks later. Mr. Harrison spoke about this in a recent questions and answers session, saying that former Google Stadia employees were looking for transparency.
He added that the choice for the company to ditch first-person development came after Microsoft decided to acquire external studios. Regardless, it seems as though there’s little sense to the move, at least to external speculators. Whether or not there are unannounced projects and moves from Google remains to be seen.
For its part, the company is trying to help former Google Stadia employees find new roles, both inside and outside the company. However, this has been relatively fruitless so far.
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