Google is notorious for its many projects, some of them very expensive and some of them even involving partners and customers that rely on such products. When Google launched its own game streaming platform, it wasn’t surprising that some regarded Stadia with uncertainty, especially about its future. Despite all the worrying news of late, Googler Nate Ahearn says that Stadia is “alive and well”, which is what you’d expect to hear from Stadia’s developer marketing lead.
Google shut down its first-party, in-house Stadia Games & Entertainment development studio last February and then lost its head of product for Stadia John Justice last month. Despite its consistent weekly updates on new games coming to the game streaming platform, many have started to wonder how long Stadia will last in this state and the pace of development. Ahearn, however, advises non-believers not to look at that news but to notice its Stadia Makers program instead.
That program partners not with AAA studios like Square Enix and Ubisoft but with indie developers with the aim of helping them support Stadia as one of their target platforms. A bit ironically, however, Stadia Makers isn’t obsessed with making Stadia exclusives or pushing for a period of platform exclusivity. That lack of exclusives, a practice common on consoles most especially, is one of the factors some use to doubt Stadia’s continued existence.
The report from GamesIndustry.biz also confirms that Stadia is now being led by Dov Zimring in Justice’s place. Zimring is one of the co-founders of Stadia and has been involved since it was still an internal Project Stream. The focus of the new lead and Stadia itself will be on delivering value to its partners.
The question is whether those partners will be around for the long haul, long enough to actually keep Stadia relevant. Google hasn’t shared figures on how many subscribers Stadia does have at the moment but isn’t worried about the problems in this “Early Adopter” phase of the nascent game streaming market.
UPDATE: Stadia reached out to clarify that the Stadia Makers program is for indies, not triple-A studios, and was launched “as the first step into an expansion of self-publishing for experienced independent game developers.” More information can be found at last year’s announcement. The article has been updated to reflect this fact.