With a company as large as Google, people come and go often. Sometimes that even involves people in high-ranking positions or high-profile roles. But when an exec of an already controversial division leaves, it’s hard not to take notice. That might be the kind of publicity that John Justice is now getting after Google confirmed his departure. After all, not only is Justice a VP at one of the world’s biggest tech companies, he is also the Product Head of Stadia, the game streaming service that many will now doubt will survive for long.
Although it was hardly the first of its kind, Google jumping on the game streaming bandwagon definitely added a bit of credibility to that market. Unfortunately, Stadia’s troubles also reflected negatively on that market with some doubting if game streaming will remain a viable industry in the long run, not to mention a profitable one. This latest news might not directly affect opinions on game streaming but it does raise doubts about Stadia’s long-term chances.
John Justice was the man in charge of consumer experience at Stadia, practically the man that talked about things that would excite Stadia users. Google eventually reined in its forward-facing teasers after it got burned for overpromising and underdelivering. Swinging in the completely opposite direction, it now talks about those features only after they’ve been around for days or even weeks already.
Justice’s departure probably isn’t catastrophic for Stadia but it doesn’t paint an encouraging picture either. It follows two months after Google closed its first-party Stadia game development studio which already raised questions on whether Google was in it for the long haul. This news, which it confirmed to 9to5Google, doesn’t do Stadia any favors either.
That said, it’s not like Stadia has been stagnating and regularly adds new titles to its digital shelf. It also continues to improve the experience, even if the new features it adds are basic things you’d have expected from day one. Then again, Google is also notorious for shutting down apps and services that it actively maintains, regardless of how many people have been paying for them.