Two new reports, one from Wired and one from Bloomberg have shed new light on what the heck has happened to Google Stadia. Both Wired and Bloomberg reveal that, according to inside sources, Google put a lot of money into getting third-party games on the service, but never got the number of users it was counting on, leading to the closure of the company’s two game studios.
Both reports are about the different ways Stadia was doomed from the planning stages. According to Bloomberg, the people developing Stadia were afraid they wouldn’t be able to deliver all the promised features on time — and they were right. Bloomberg reports, “The library of games was small and mostly old, with none of Google’s exclusives available yet. Most of the features Harrison promised were not actually there, such as the State Share concept.”
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To compensate, Google apparently poured “tens of million of dollars” into a campaign to get big-name releases onto Stadia. Developers were reportedly shocked at how much money Google was willing to spend to get the big AAA releases, which had already been out for months, onto its platform. They also brought in Jade Raymond, an industry vet, to build an in-house division to develop exclusives, but not soon enough to have any on the console at launch.
Wired’s report cites inside sources who say the company didn’t seem to realize how long video games take to make, and fired 150 of the developers before either of its two studios could make even one game. To quote the report: “Google wasn’t funding games to sell games; it was funding games to sell Stadia,” but Stadia’s reception proved to be lukewarm.
Actually, “lukewarm” might be giving it too much credit. According to Bloomberg’s report, Stadia “missed its targets for sales of controllers and monthly active users by hundreds of thousands.”