A new report by Jason Schreier at Bloomberg has emerged detailing the current state of Google’s Stadia streaming platform. The piece gives a brief history of Stadia’s troubled development, mainly focusing on the decision to launch Stadia as a traditional console, immediately competing with Playstation and Xbox, rather than a slower rollout like streaming competitors xCloud and Luna.
There were concerns among developers on the Stadia team that the hard deadline of autumn 2019 would not give them enough time to deliver all the promised features, and they felt Google should launch Stadia in beta, as they have done for many of their other services. However, Phil Harrison, the head of the Stadia project, was more used to traditional console launches, having been president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios during the launch of the Playstation 3 and part of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Team during the launch of the Xbox One, and wanted to continue on the path he was more familiar with.
Knowing that he would need big titles to lure players to Studios, Harrison’s team reportedly spent more than the budget of some AAA games just to secure ports. Although exact figures are not given, according to several anonymous sources Schreier spoke to for the story, Google spent “tens of millions” of dollars on ports such as Red Dead Redemption II or The Division 2 (Schreier clarified in a later Tweet that these were tens of millions per port, not cumulative).
Harrison also began building an in-house development team to create exclusive content for Stadia. Unfortunately, Stadia didn’t catch on – according to Schreier’s sources, it missed its targets for controller sales and monthly active users by hundreds of thousands – which led Google to close its internal game development studios on February 1 this year.
Google allegedly paid tens of millions for Stadia ports