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Microsoft acquiring Bethesda may have played a part in Google Stadia studio closure

Google Stadia mobile
(Image credit: Google)

After Google decided to close its first-party Stadia Games and Entertainment studios at the start of the month, it has come to light that Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda may have been partly to blame. 

Originally shared by Kotaku (via IGN), in a staff Q&A session Google Stadia’s general manager Phil Harrison supposedly “pointed specifically to Microsoft’s buying spree and planned acquisition of Bethesda Software later this year as one of the factors that had made Google decide to close the book on original game development.” This, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and the “rising costs of game development” were apparently also a factor in the decision.

How exactly this links to Microsoft’s Bethesda acquisition is unclear, however, it could be seen that due to Bethesda and Microsoft - who are already video game powerhouses - joining forces, the exclusive video game market has become even more of a competitive landscape.

According to the same Kotaku article, staff were sent an email a week prior to the closure announcement from Harrison which mentioned that the studio “has made great progress building a diverse and talented team and establishing a strong lineup of Stadia exclusive games” however just a few days later staff were told about the decision to shut down. 

In a blog post, Harrison publicly explained the company’s reasoning stating that “given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games.”

Harrison also added in his blog post that “over the coming months, most of the SG&E team will be moving on to new roles. We’re committed to working with this talented team to find new roles and support them”, which is just about the only silver lining to this abrupt closure. 

If you’re new to Google’s gaming world, take a look at our everything you need to know about Google Stadia article

Hope Bellingham

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at University, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became GamesRadar's trainee news writer where I get to spread the word about the goings-on in the video game world. My expertise lies in Animal Crossing related topics after spending the last 15 years immersing myself in island life. I also know a thing or two about The Last of Us, and way too much about the Kingdom Hearts series.