Microsoft’s historic acquisition of Bethesda was reportedly a major factor in Google’s decision to close its development studios for the platform. Stadia.
A report from Kotaku says Google Stadia General Manager Phil Harrison mentioned it as a vital factor during a question and answer session with staff, after learning of Google’s decision to shut down its two in-house gaming studios in Los Angeles. Angeles and Montreal in early February.
According to Kotaku sources, Harrison “He specifically pointed to Microsoft’s buying spree and the planned acquisition of Bethesda Software later this year as one of the factors that led Google to close the book on original game development.”.
Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Zenimax Media and Bethesda Softworks in September 2020, bringing blockbuster franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Doom under its wing. It’s not entirely clear what the connection is between the acquisition and Stadia’s decision, although it could be seen as an inability to compete against that in the market.
Harrison reportedly mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic and “the rising costs of game development” as other factors in the decision. The Kotaku report notes that the studio’s game developers were surprised by the decision to close the studios, as Harrison praised them via email for the “great progress” performed by teams. Kotaku sources say this was “representative” regarding the information that spoke of mismanagement in the Stadia studios before its closure.
Despite its own studio closures, Google recently announced that more than 100 third-party games will be added to its streaming service by the end of 2021.