The last days of Google’s game-making studios at Stadia may have been worse than we thought.
If Google’s decision to shutdown all internal Stadia development studios without making a single game seemed sudden, it was also that way for the people Google let go.
A Kotaku report covering the last few days of Stadia’s dev teams revealed that just the week prior, Stadia GM and long-time games executive Phil Harrison told everyone in an email that “[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].”
The investment envelope Harrison was referring to here was none at all, because five days later, he broke the news to the world that Stadia is done with making games as it repositions the business around publishing and licensing tech. This is also when teams found out about Google’s decision to let them go.
In a follow-up conference call with affected teams, Harrison was specifically asked what changed between the time of his email and the decision to shutdown studios. According to Kotaku, Harrison told developers that management had known of Google’s decision, and apologised for his misleading email the week prior.
Harrison reportedly also said that Microsoft’s move to acquire Bethesda’s parent company was one of the reasons behind Google’s decision, though it’s not clear what actually means.
You can read the full report at the link at the top.