Making Games is Hard: Google Closing Stadia’s Internal Studios As Amazon Struggles with Its Own Development Issues


Some pretty big news from Stadia today and, depending on where you stand with Google’s games streaming service, this is either expected or somewhat of a shock.

The company is closing its internal games development division, focusing instead on making the Stadia platform open to other game developers for their titles. This comes after having released zero games so far though many titles were in actual development when the call to close shop arrived. Whether or not those games will ever see the light of day is a reason for speculation but we don’t have any definitive word either way yet. One thing is certain, however, and that is that this move is not being interpreted as a good sign for things to come with Google’s games streaming service.

To the search engine giant’s credit, making games isn’t that easy and it seems this is true no matter how much money you throw at it. And we don’t just make unfounded statements, we’ll bring the receipts when we can.

Take Amazon’s recent internal development issues as case in point number one. The retailer has more money than most and has suffered fewer setbacks in nearly every field it has touched. But one area it hasn’t conquered (at least as of yet), and has actually posted some fairly massive failures, is in video games.

This was pretty much the meat of a story making its way around the Internet late last week and it focused on Amazon’s very public failures as well as their huge price tags. The report from Jason Schreier at Bloomberg detailed a series of management failures by none other than Amazon Game Studios’ own founder and a series of bizarre decisions that led to what can only be described as a mess of a division.

One interesting thing in the report that stuck out to most of us is that Amazon Game Studios aspired to make games like Call of Duty and the like but relied heavily on data rather than the user experience to inform development. In other words, analytics about what is fun overruled emotions about what was fun. As highlighted in the Bloomberg report, this is a pretty unorthodox approach to game development and not one that is likely to be embraced in the future. While it might be nice to imagine that classic games can be designed through a paint-by-numbers scheme, we doubt that reality will ever come to pass.

Interestingly, the sentiment surrounding the Amazon story is different than the Stadia piece with most people accepting the notion that the retailing titan will continue to plug away at its video game effort. Meanwhile, back at the SS Stadia, some more pessimistic fans are already declaring the death of the platform, citing Google’s chequered past with starting something up and then promptly abandoning it when it doesn’t print money on day one or whatever metric they use.

What do you think? Will Google support Stadia in the future? Or is this a sign of the end? What about Amazon’s development woes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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