Google made the headlines a while ago when they revealed that they would be permanently shutting down their internal development studio. This was a shock to most, but especially the developers who had been praised for making “great progress” just days before getting sacked. Now a new report suggests that Google’s decision was partly influenced by Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax Media and Bethesda.
Google Stadia’s head, Phil Harrison, revealed that one of the reasons for the internal studio’s closure was due to the rising costs of video game development: “Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially.”
But shortly after the studio’s closure, employees were on a Q&A call with Harrison about the news, where he apparently mentioned that Microsoft’s massive $7.5 billion acquisition of Zenimax Media (and subsequently, Bethesda Softworks) was also a major factor in the decision.
Although it’s unclear exactly how the acquisition affected the closure, it is possible that Google thought they would not be able to compete in the market against such giants, and instead decided to work with developers on using the platform rather than developing any first party games themselves.
It’s not a very clear situation, and only brings up more questions than answers. But it seems that the now-ex-employees are not happy with the way Google handled the situation, citing poor accountability from management.
One anonymous source even mentioned how the Q&A with Harrison and employees was an “ultimately unsuccessful attempt at extracting some kind of accountability from Stadia management.”
“I think people really just wanted the truth of what happened,” they said. “They just want an explanation from leadership. If you started this studio and hired a hundred or so of these people, no one starts that just for it to go away in a year or so, right? You can’t make a game in that amount of time...We had multi-year reassurance, and now we don’t.”
What do you think? How would Microsoft’s Bethesda acquisition affect Google Stadia? And why would it be a factor in closing the internal development studio? How do you feel about using Stadia now? Let us know your thoughts!