Google's Stadia gaming division reportedly missed its user goals by hundreds of thousands of gamers

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Google's Stadia gaming division reportedly missed its user goals by hundreds of thousands of gamers
Playing a Stadia game.INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images
  • Google's Stadia gaming division missed user goals by hundreds of thousands, according to Bloomberg.
  • A source told Wired they questioned whether execs "above Stadia leadership understand what they got into."
  • Google in February announced it would stop developing in-house games for Stadia.

Google's Stadia shut down its in-house game-development division after failing to hit targets, including apparently missing its monthly active user goal by hundreds of thousands of gamers, according to new reports examining the project.

Google on February 1 announced it was abandoning its effort to create video games in-house after less than two years. Its Stadia Games & Entertainment division, responsible for creating the games, would be shuttered, the company said.

"We've decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games," Phil Harrison, Stadia VP, wrote in a blog post.

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On Friday, Bloomberg reported that the division hadn't met internal company goals for active users and controller sales. Both were off by hundreds of thousands, according to the report, which cited two unnamed sources.

Wired on Friday also published a deeper look into where the Stadia development project went wrong. The report said Google planned to hire 2,000 people in five years. The company ended up shuttering the project and reportedly laying off about 150 game developers.

There seemed to be a disconnect between the way game developers usually work - testing games internally and releasing them as close to their final form as possible - and the way Google creates products, with beta versions and many iterations, according to the reports.

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One Stadia employee told Wired: "I question how much the execs above Stadia leadership understand what they got into - the commitments made and over commitments and the inability to keep those commitments."

Google announced Stadia in November 2019, saying it would launch a Netflix-like video-game platform and a new controller. It would also create its own games, it said. But Stadia said in early February that it would stop development on new games, while continuing to launch third-party games.

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

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Insider has reached out to Google for comment.

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