My work here is done! —

After the death of Stadia, VP Phil Harrison has left Google

There's now nothing left of Google's once-grand gaming ambitions.

Phil Harrison announces Stadia to the world.
Enlarge / Phil Harrison announces Stadia to the world.

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. Business Insider reports Harrison has left Google. The report claims he left in January, but Harrison's Linkedin was only updated in the last few days to say he left Google in April. Harrison spent five years working on Stadia.

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 set up deals with game developers and deal with the, uh, enthusiastic gaming community.

In the early days, Harrison was the face of Stadia. During the initial 2019 announcement, Harrison took the stage after Pichai to announce Stadia to the world, detailing the basic premise and how Stadia 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 they were "making great progress" one week before they were laid off, which was, according to Kotaku, 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. Those both happen to be the consensus worst console releases from each company and presiding over the life and death of Stadia is not helping Harrison's prodigious reputation.

With Harrison gone, Stadia dead, and the supposed cloud pivot also killed alongside Stadia, nothing is left of the once-ambitious gaming project at Google.

Channel Ars Technica