Google shutters Stadia game studio in Montreal

Google is calling it quits on its Stadia video game studios in both Montreal and Los Angeles.

In a blog post, Google’s Phil Harrison said “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.”

The move will reportedly affect 150 developers, wrote Kotaku. It’s unclear how many people in Montreal or Los Angeles specifically will lose their jobs, or how Google will find them new homes within the company.

Here’s what Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo had to say:

“Stadia isn’t quite done. The Stadia tech could still succeed. By many accounts, Stadia runs games great. But as a game-maker, Google appears to have packed it in.”

One source familiar with Stadia’s first-party operations told Kotaku that “Google was a terrible place to make games. Imagine Amazon, but under-resourced.”

Google’s Harrison clarified that the company would continue expanding its platform for game developers and publishers using Stadia. What it appears they’ll stop investing in is its own game content.

“We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry,” wrote Harrison. “Having games streamed to any screen is the future of this industry, and we’ll continue to invest in Stadia and its underlying platform.”

Jade Raymond, the producer who helped build Assassin’s Creed for Ubisoft, will move on from Stadia, said Google. Raymond worked for EA several years ago before leaving to run game creation at Stadia.

Launched in November 2019, Stadia is a cloud gaming service advertised to be capable of streaming video games up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, with support for high-dynamic-range via the company’s numerous data centers. Stadia requires users to purchase games from its store in order to stream them.

It’s an interesting change of plans after Google announced its new Montreal office exactly 12 months ago. That announcement came with the news that Google could hire up to 800.

In February 2020, Google announced its new five-floor office at 425 Viger Ouest, able to house 1,000 people. Among those slated to move to the new office were software developers, game developers, sales leaders, AI researchers and Cloud experts.

At the time, Google had about 200 employees. Given this news and the events of the past year, it would be hard to imagine that Google ended up hiring 800 more people here in Montreal. At the same time, this remains possible down the road.

Google opened its first office in Québec over a decade ago in 2004 with three employees.  

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