Google shutting down first-party Stadia game studios earlier this year was a setback for the game streaming service, and now a key executive who was the face of many interviews and responsible for getting users excited about Stadia has left the company. While a replacement for John Justice is yet to be announced, his departure is said to be part of Google’s recent internal reorg that has also affected the company’s Cloud, Search, Maps, and Ads businesses.
Google’s turbulent Stadia launch meant that it had an uphill task of convincing users to get onboard the cloud gaming revolution. One and a half years later, uncertainty continues to surround the service, following the closure of first-party Stadia game studios and class-action lawsuits over misleading/overpromised features.
The latest development to fuel speculation about Stadia’s future is the departure of VP and Head of Product, John Justice. News of his exit was officially confirmed to 9to5Google with the following statement: “We can confirm John is no longer with Google and we wish him well on his next step.”
While it doesn’t bode well for Stadia to lose a key executive at this stage, a leadership change might be what’s needed for Google to put up a better fight against rivals such as Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming.
It’s also a bit early to say if Stadia is headed for the infamous Google Graveyard. The platform finally gained a search function (Google’s forte!) and sorting/grouping on Stadia for Web in April, a mere 16 months after launch, to help users navigate around Stadia’s 170+ game library, with more stuff in the pipeline, including an Activity feed and Android web browser support.
Perhaps more reassuring than those features is Google’s plan to add over 100 games in 2021, which just might be enough to keep the most hardcore Stadia users tied to the service.