Google Stadia and all its associated projects are dead, and that means it’s finally time for the division’s leader, Phil Harrison, to move on. According to Business Insider, Harrison has quit Google. The report says he left in January, but Harrison’s Linkedin page only said he left Google in April a few days ago. Harrison worked on Stadia for five years.
Google is not a gaming company, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the launch of Google’s gaming platform by announcing to the crowd, “I’m not a big gamer.” As Stadia’s VP and General Manager, Harrison was supposed to bring gaming credibility to Google, though.
Harrison is an industry veteran that previously worked at Microsoft and Sony for their game console launches, so his experience was supposed to help the company up set up deals with game developers and deal with the uh, enthusiastic gaming community.
Phil Harrison was the face of Stadia when it first started. Harrison took the stage after Pichai at the 2019 announcement to tell the world about Stadia. He explained how it would work and how it would be “the future of games.”
When things started going south, though, Harrison stopped appearing in videos, stopped tweeting, and generally disappeared. Harrison made the news rounds in 2021 when Google killed off Stadia’s only first-party game studio, the Games & Entertainment division, after just 1.5 years.
Harrison reportedly told the team that they were “making great progress” a week before they were fired, which Kotaku said was part of a pattern of leadership “not being honest and upfront with the company’s developers.” He also announced the death of Stadia in a blog post.
It’s impossible to know how useful executives are when we’re outside a company, but Harrison joined Google with a bad reputation with gamers. His previous major executive roles oversaw Sony’s Playstation 3 launch and Microsoft’s launch of the Xbox One and the Kinect.
Both are considered to be the worst consoles each company has ever made, and Harrison’s reputation isn’t getting any better because he is in charge of Stadia’s life and death.
With Harrison gone, Stadia dead, and the supposed “cloud pivot” also dead along with Stadia, Google’s once-ambitious gaming project has been completely wiped out.