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Stadia is 'alive and well,' Google says

Stadia pupper
(Image credit: Google)

Things do not appear to be going very smoothly for Stadia, Google's cloud gaming platform. It got off to a rough start (especially on PC) and did not impress with its selection of games, but things have seemed even more dire recently: Earlier this year it closed its internal studios and bid farewell to high-profile studio head Jade Raymond, and in April Stadia vice president and product head John Justice also left, along with six other members of the Stadia team—all of whom joined Raymond at her new Haven Studios.

But in an interview with GamesIndustry, developer marketing lead Nate Ahearn said that Stadia is "alive and well," and has plans to release more than 100 new games on the platform this year.

"We're continuing to make Stadia a great place to play games on devices you already own," Ahearn said. "I'd tell any non-believers to take notice of how we're continuing to put our words into action, as we grow the Stadia Makers program and partner with AAA studios like Capcom, EA, Square Enix, Ubisoft and others."

Stadia is now being headed up by Dov Zimring, who a Google rep described as "a senior leader in the product development for both Project Stream and Stadia. He will be leading the team toward our goals of creating the best possible platform for gamers and technology for our partners."

The wheels are also still turning on the Stadia Makers program, which was announced last year as a program aimed at helping indie developers with self-publishing. Despite the loss of Stadia Games and Entertainment and the exclusives they were expected to create, Ahearn said Stadia is not looking to indie devs taking part in the program to help fill the hole: "The whole point of the program is to support their addition of Stadia as a launch platform for their game, not add any pressure or make anything harder for them," he said.

"An important distinction about Stadia Makers to highlight is that by design, we don't expect any studios to exclusively publish their game on Stadia. Rather, the program is designed to support studios in bringing their Unity-based games to launch on Stadia in addition to other platforms."

Ahearn said indie studios are still signing up for the program, and that Google recently made changes to enable its partner engineering team "to work more closely with developers when necessary." Five indie games have already been released for Stadia through the program, and more than 20 others are currently in development.

But while Stadia has been expanding its library of games, including with new releases like Resident Evil Village and Outriders, that hasn't gone entirely smoothly either. Patches for the Stadia version of Outriders, for instance, have lagged well behind updates on PC and console, and it's also struggled with issues like a crash bug in Journey to the Savage Planet that took weeks to fix because of the closure of its internal studios. The most recent update to Stadia itself was the addition of a search bar, which arrived at the end of April—well over a year after the platform launched—and was the subject of predictable mockery.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.