Google’s abrupt shutdown of Stadia, its cloud-based game streaming service, caught the entire gaming industry off guard. Stadia wasn’t a universally adored service, but it was a pioneer in cloud computing in its own right. Community members were understandably upset, particularly players concerned about spending money on games that will soon be obsolete and hardware that will become obsolete in a matter of months.
Fortunately, Google announced that it will reimburse gamers who put their trust in Stadia. Furthermore, labels such as IO Studios and Ubisoft have announced that games purchased on Stadia will be ported to other platforms at no additional cost. However, it appears that players were not the only ones caught off guard by the decision, as Google also kept Stadia’s developer and publishing partners in the dark about the decision.
People in the game development industry have taken to Twitter since the news broke, revealing that they learned of the shocking news from publications covering Google’s announcement. SFB Games’ Tom Vian tweeted that the studio planned to release a game on Stadia two days later, but learned about the news from a news article. But Vian wasn’t the only one with a game set to launch on Stadia in the coming weeks.
A lose-lose situation for developers
Rebecca Heineman, a video game designer and founding member of several game studios, revealed on Twitter that her company was set to release a Stadia game on November 1st, but instead received heartbreak. Indie developer Simon Roth stated that he received no advance notice from Google, nor did the Stadia division contact him via email or phone until after the news broke.
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But it wasn’t just indie developers who were kept in the dark by Google. Even industry heavyweights like Bungie, which brought users “Halo” and “Destiny” games, were apparently unaware of the Stadia bombshell. Plaion, which owns several publishing divisions and ten game studios, also stated that it was not informed in advance. Goldfire Studios and No More Robots both told Kotaku that they would be releasing a game on Stadia next year.
Pixel Games announced a day earlier that it had finalized a deal to bring three games to Google’s cloud gaming service. Google, on the other hand, is reportedly collaborating with the affected studios on schemes such as development cost reimbursement and porting existing games to its platform. According to Axios, Stadia representatives are approaching publishing and development partners with reimbursement deals.