It was over, but now it's really over: A Business Insider report says Phil Harrison, the former PlayStation and Xbox executive who joined Google in 2018 to head up its Stadia gaming platform, has left the company.
Harrison's departure is hardly surprising. Despite big promises—overpromising, in the opinion of Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick—and Google's financial muscle, Stadia never found its footing, much less delivered on its early promise. The first real sign of trouble appeared in February 2021 when Google closed its internal game development studio, leading to the departure of its high profile leader Jade Raymond. Other executives and employees followed shortly after.
Google insisted a few months later that Stadia was "alive and well," but still failed to do anything interesting with it; in July 2022 it denied a rumor that Stadia was shutting down, and then two months later, shut it down. In March of this year, a plan to switch Stadia to a licensed streaming platform was also scrapped.
The Business Insider report says Harrison left Google in January, around the time that Google was officially closed. His LinkedIn page, however, indicates that he stuck around until April 2023. Whatever the case, this would seem to put the final nail in Stadia's coffin—a definitive end to an initiative that in its early days looked like it might have the potential to change gaming forever.
Harrison hasn't yet commented publicly on his reported departure from Google or what he plans to get up to next. I've reached out to Google for comment and will update if I receive a reply.