2021 has been a tumultuous year for Google Stadia. Among the highs was the promise of 100 new games (on top of its target of 400 titles), including high-profile titles like FIFA 21, Outriders, and Resident Evil Village. But it’s the lows that inevitably generated the most interest and raised questions about Google’s commitment to its promising cloud gaming service. The latest news about the departure of a manager at Stadia will likely add fuel to the fire over the future of the fledgling gaming service.
TheInformation has reported that VP and head of product at Stadia John Justice has left Google. The exec was responsible for the consumer experience at Stadia and had previously spoken about his team’s tendency to over-promise on new features. In 2019, Google’s streaming service notoriously launched without a number of hyped social features, including State Share and Crowd Play. More recently, Stadia abruptly debuted a web search bar, one of its most requested features. Although Justice has not yet updated his LinkedIn page, Google confirmed his departure to 9to5Google.
Stadia’s problems date back to February when the company decided to close its internal studios in a shift to third-party gaming. Shortly after the announcement, Google was forced to fix a critical bug in Journey to the Savage Planet on Stadia, after developers had apparently moved on as a result of the shake-up
Taking into account Google’s history of discontinuing services, Justice’s exit will likely raise a few eyebrows. But it also doesn’t mean Stadia is dead and buried, given its continued rollout and all the new games that continue to appear on the platform. Plus, the service still has plenty of executives to steer the ship, including director of games Jack Buser and VP and general manager Phil Harrison.
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