Google Stadia Dies, But Game Design Remains a Strong Career

After years of pledging support for its Stadia cloud-gaming platform, Google plans on shutting the project down in January 2023.

“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Stadia, wrote in a posting on Google’s official blog. “And while Stadia’s approach to streaming games for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service.”

Google will reportedly integrate the streaming and cloud technologies built for Stadia into other products, including YouTube and Google Play. “We remain deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators,” Harrison added.

Over at The Verge, there’s a nifty breakdown of all the times Google pledged to transform Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business. However, it’s clear that players weren’t interested in Google’s attempts to make cloud-based gaming more of a thing. Stadia now joins hundreds of other projects in Google’s ever-growing graveyard, from Google Plus to Nest Secure.

Simply put, Google isn’t a gaming company, although it’s very good at building websites and cloud infrastructure at global scale. It failed in its attempts to launch a game-production studio to go with Stadia, despite offering tons of resources, high salaries, and stability. It also never convinced third-party developers and studios that Stadia was a prime platform for game development.

However, the rest of the video game industry is still going strong, with key studios earning billions of dollars per year off bestselling games. According to Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, video game designers make a median annual salary of $85,943 per year, and those with more than nine years of experience can easily earn six-figure salaries. Meanwhile, Glassdoor plugs game designer salaries at $117,191 per year.

That’s not to say the video game industry is controversy-free. For years, game designers have complained about relatively low pay, long hours, and the dreaded “crunch time.” But to their credit, at least some studios are making an earnest attempt at solving these problems. For game designers, the industry offers a lot of opportunity to make a mark—but they won’t be making that mark with Stadia.

One Response to “Google Stadia Dies, But Game Design Remains a Strong Career”

  1. Jake Leone

    Game development environments are “Catty” and “Cut-throat”. Unless you feel it is all you can do (which is unlikely because game development is among the most difficult kinds of software development), stay clear of game dev.
    Yes, low pay, small companies (meaning no job security), typically a contract job with no benefits. Add to that, a lot of really low-class people gunning for your job. And game development is stressful, because the deadlines are tight, and the money is tighter.
    So no, if you can avoid game development, do it. Save games for recreation.
    You are far better off going to work for a stable Big Tech (or middle sized tech company). The deadlines are often stretched out and you will be appreciated much.
    I worked at SEGA in the mid-90’s. And I can tell what a nerve wracked environment. And filled with just awful people, with bad attitudes. And a contract environment where you were just expendable. And management didn’t care at all about the employees. Keep that in mind whenevery you consider anyone who formerly was an executive at SEGA. They are the worst people, period.
    If anything I have learned this over the years.
    – Don’t do a job that everyone in the world wants to do
    – Don’t go to work for small companies
    – Avoid contract jobs
    – Look for a stable company that has a needful (of software features) customer base.
    People don’t need games, they want games. And as such, in a downturn, they will buy fewer games. Companies don’t need contractors, they just want them for a season. And a small company might just go out of business.
    Games are great for developing programming skills. But they will not serve you well in the long run.