Less that 20% of team now working on platform.
Google has reportedly “deprioritised” its consumer-facing game streaming platform Stadia and now has a “reduced interest” in negotiating blockbuster titles for the service, having largely shifted its focus to selling the services’ underlying technology to third-parties.
Stadia’s misfortunes are well-documented; despite initial praise for the service’s streaming capabilities at launch in 2019, a slow, problematic roll-out meant Google failed to capitalise on initial consumer interest. The extent of Stadia’s failings started to became clear when the company announced it was closing its first-party game development studios less that 14 months after launch, with subsequent reports claiming the streaming platform was missing its targets for monthly active users by hundreds of thousands.
Although Google continued to insist Stadia was “alive and well” as 2021 progressed – and launched a variety of initiatives to bolster support for the service, including time-limited demos and revenue schemes for developers – a new report by Business Insider claims the company has now “deprioritised” the service internally and has diminishing interest in securing blockbuster third-party titles to boost its library. Less than 20% of the Stadia team is now said to be working on the consumer platform, with the remainder focused on tech sales.
Signs of a change of strategy for Stadia first emerged alongside news of Google’s game studio closures last year, when the company announced it would begin selling its technology to third-parties. Business Insider says this is now leadership’s main priority for the Stadia division, and that the vast majority of the team is focussed on securing white-labels deals for its tech – targeting companies both within and outside gaming – under the new name Google Stream.
As part of these conversation, Google is said to have discussed supplying its technology to Capcom, enabling the publisher to stream demo titles from its own website, and the company had reportedly also made “considerable headway” with Bungie regarding a similar back-end deal. However, Business Insider’s sources says it’s unclear how Sony’s recent $3.6bn acquisition of Bungie will affect these plans.
As for what all this will ultimately mean for the Stadia consumer platform, that’s currently unclear. In a statement to Business Insider, Google said it is “still focused on bringing great games to Stadia in 2022”, noting it will be growing the platform’s current 200-strong library with another 100 games this year. But how long can this support last? One source told Business Insider, “There are plenty of people internally who would love to keep [Stadia] going, so they are working really hard to make sure it doesn’t die, but they’re not the ones writing the checks.”