As Stadia continues to cling to life inside Google, a new report from Business Insider’s Hugh Langley sheds light on what the cloud gaming division has been up to in recent months. As usual, the report is not promising.
According to the BI report, the “Stadia consumer platform” within Google has become “depriority” and now takes an estimated 20 percent of the time of the Stadia division. After Google closed its only first-party studio last year (before it ever produced a game!), a blog post hinted that a white-label service might be the future of Stadia. We kind of saw what that would look like in October when AT&T released a cloud version of Batman: Arkham Knight which was secretly powered by Google Stadia. BI reports that the service will be called “Google Stream” and that “leadership focus is now on securing business deals for Stream.”
The white-labeled Stadia service would work much the same as Google Cloud Platform: companies that don’t want to own their own cloud gaming service can just use Google’s back-end and distribute their games however they want. like with Batmanpresumably no branding requirements are required and no need to plug into the Stadia store or the rest of the Stadia ecosystem.
In addition to AT&T, the report reveals three more potential Google Stream customers: Peloton, Capcom and Bungie. Peloton, the manufacturer of smart fitness equipment, launched its Stadia game in closed beta last July. It’s a musical rhythm bike game called Lanebreak. Capcom is reportedly considering using Google’s technology to launch a demo site for new titles, which sounds like a great use of game streaming technology. Game streaming has no download time and you don’t have to clutter your device with an install – all you need to do is click a link and start playing right away, which is ideal for trying out a new game you’re not sure about. are.
Bungie’s inclusion on the list raises numerous questions. The companies Lot 2 is probably the flagship of Google Stadia – it was one of the first games on the platform and is free to play. However, Bungie was only the subject of a $3.6 billion blockbuster purchase deal by Sony, and now no one knows if the company will continue with its earlier plans.
After the acquisition, Bungie promised that Lot 2 and future titles would not become PlayStation exclusives, leaving the door open for a deal with Stadia. Sony’s longstanding game streaming service, PlayStation Now, has been very neglected and wouldn’t offer much competition today, but Sony is reportedly planning a revamp to tackle Xbox Cloud Gaming. Assuming the new PS Now isn’t a PlayStation exclusive, Bungie can jump to the Sony service.
Phil Harrison was appointed to lead the overall Stadia effort. As an industry veteran working for Sony and Microsoft, he brought some respect to Google’s fledgling division. According to the report, Harrison has worked at Google’s Mountain View headquarters on Stadia since he was hired in 2018, but has now returned to his London home. This suggests that Harrison has been less involved with the project lately. Curiously, Harrison’s Linkedin doesn’t mention Stadia at all (he just chose to write “VP, Google”), and he didn’t tweet on Stadia since 2020. The report states that Harrison used to report to Google Hardware SVP Rick Osterloh, but following a reorganization, Harrison now reports to someone at least one level lower in Google’s org chart: VP Subscription Services Jason Rosenthal.
Stadia has shed leadership and key employees for a while now. Assassin’s Creed co-creator and SG&E leader Jade Raymond left in February 2021 when the game development studio closed. Stadia’s VP and Head of Product, John Justice, and Stadia Engineering Lead Justin Uberti both departed in May 2021. To this list can be added Jack Buser, Stadia’s former games director, and Teddy Keefe, Stadia’s partnerships manager for Europe. the Middle East and Africa.
Google isn’t killing the consumer platform (yet), but a source told Business Insider that people are “working really hard to make sure it doesn’t die.”