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Google closing in-house Stadia video game studio

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Google said it is winding down its in-house studio for its Stadia game platform and parting ways with Jade Raymond, who headed the operation, seen here in a 2019 picture./AFP
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Feb 02, 2021 - 09:48 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Google on Monday said it is closing its in-house Stadia video game studio, leaving the job of making titles for play in its cloud-hosted arena to outside developers.

The internet giant set out to transform the video game world in late 2019 with the launch of Stadia, a service crafted to let people access console-quality games as easily as they do email.

An in-house Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E) studio created to make exclusive titles for play at the service will be wound down, the company said.

“Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially,” Google said in a blog post.

“Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E.”

Stadia membership of $10 a month comes with some complementary games, but most of the titles in its library cost extra.

The in -house studio will finish games that are nearly complete as it winds down operations, according to Google.

“It’s clear that Stadia’s technology has been proven and works at scale,” Google said, citing launch of Cyberpunk 2077 on the platform as among its successes.

“Having games streamed to any screen is the future of this industry, and we’ll continue to invest in Stadia and its underlying platform.”

The company statement said Jade Raymond, a game industry veteran who led the studio, “has decided to leave Google to pursue other opportunities.”

Google and others have been moving to make video games more easily accessible to more devices through its internet cloud.

Amazon late last year unveiled Luna streaming video game service in the United States.

Luna vies with Microsoft’s xCloud and Google Stadia in the shift to playing video games directly in the cloud.

Each of the three internet giant’s have datacenters they can use for hosting game play, with the option of enhancing features using artificial intelligence.

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