Stadia’s first-party studio closures were influenced by Microsoft’s Bethesda buyout

February 17, 2021
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Google Stadia’s high-profile axing of its internal development studios was inspired by the recent reveal of Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda parent company Zenimax Media. 

Reported by Kotaku, Stadia General Manager Phil Harrison had previously sent all employees a company-wide email to congratulate the “great progress” at their internal studios. A week later, they would all be closed.

On a conference call on February 4th, Harrison referred to Microsoft’s $7.5 billion ongoing acquisition of Zenimax Media as one of the reasons why Stadia’s studios have been canned.

In the announcement of the studios’ closure, Harrison expressed unsatisfaction with the cost and time of creating new studios from scratch.

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

Harrison’s developer Q&A has since been described by an anonymous source as the company’s “an “ultimately unsuccessful attempt at extracting some kind of accountability from Stadia management.”

Google’s new aim with the video game streaming service is to bring in new customers through unique features, such as the recently revealed shareable game states.

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