Despite a limited drip-feed of mediocre games, growing impatience among early adopters, and features still missing nearly four months on from launch, Google appears to still have faith in its flagging Stadia cloud gaming service.
The tech giant announced today a brand new Stadia Games and Entertainment studio in Playa Vista, California. The new studio joins the existing Montréal-based studio, which opened back in October last year, bringing Google’s roster of game development teams to two.
At the helm of the Playa Vista studio is industry veteran Shannon Studstill, who brings a wealth of expertise to the new venture.
Studstill’s boasts time in product development roles at Sony, and most recently as an executive producer at Santa Monica Studio during the development of one of the PS4’s biggest exclusives, God of War.
The new Playa Vista studio will focus on delivering exclusive games, using new gameplay mechanics, creative ways to play together and unique interaction models that we’re just starting to explore. While we’re not ready to share specific game plans yet, rest assured we are listening to what gamers want and adding our own Stadia twists to create new IP and experiences.
The news will alleviate fears that Stadia would eventually feature among Google’s long list of failed projects. Google isn’t abandoning Stadia. At least not yet.
On the contrary, it appears to be doubling down. The focus on developing original IPs is encouraging, as is the desire to craft new ways to play video games. Studstill’s involvement suggests Google is keen to get it right.
Yet, it further illustrates a trend that has come to define Stadia – a woefully under-cooked service with heaps of untapped potential. Grand promises of innovative games and hardware capabilities beyond our wildest dreams are all well and good. When they fail to materialize at launch or even months later, they start to ring somewhat hollow.
As with any emergent technology, Stadia needs time to percolate. Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that throwing more money at the problem and laying out ever-loftier ambitions without any fleshed out details does little to help a service that, in its current state, is an expensive beta test.
We’ll have to wait even longer to see if Stadia can blossom into a service capable of delivering all the promise of cloud gaming.