Google’s late 2019 Stadia launch was a bit of a slow start. There were only a handful of games, and most of the fancy cloud features Google promised were nowhere to be found. Google’s in-house game developers were supposed to lead the charge, but now most of them are out of work, and there’s no one to issue prompt patches for a brand new game. It’s just one more embarrassing misstep for Stadia.
Until just a few weeks ago, Google was, by all appearances, investing heavily in developing original games for Stadia. It purchased Typhoon Studios in late 2019, merging it with the Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E) group. Early this year, Typhoon’s Journey to the Savage Planet came to Stadia. However, Google shut down SG&E just days later. The abruptness of the move left gamers in the lurch as Journey to the Savage Planet still has its fair share of bugs.
Right after the closure of SG&E, one Redditor documented the disheartening process of trying to get a game-breaking bug fixed. Apparently, many Stadia players got repeated crashes when attempting to play the game in either single-player or co-op mode. 505Games published Journey to the Savage Planet on other platforms, but it couldn’t do anything about the Stadia version. According to 505, Google owns all the code and data for that version. However, there’s no SG&E to push updates anymore. It’s quite the dilemma!
Google didn’t do anything about the bugs until this week when gaming blogs started to post about the situation. Then, miraculously, a patch appeared just yesterday (February 23). This addresses one issue with one game, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of Stadia. Google really blew up its internal game development team without thinking someone might need to update the title it had literally just released. It just reeks of poor planning.
There’s a lot of doom and gloom about Stadia right now, and for good reason. Still, the service isn’t any worse than it was a few weeks ago. As Google tried to emphasize when announcing the end of SG&E, games are still launching on Stadia. Google isn’t making any of them, though. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when the current raft of in-development titles are released. Who would start a new Stadia project right now? If Google doesn’t think it’s worth it to make games for Stadia, why would anyone else? Should interest in Stadia wane, Google might feel justified in shutting it all down. It’s already demonstrated a clear lack of confidence.
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