Google's Stadia division is continuing to bleed talent as more notable names depart

By Hugh Langley

Google's Stadia division is continuing to lose key talent, with several notable names leaving the company in recent weeks as the gaming platform struggles to take hold.

The Information reported this week that Stadia vice president and head of product, John Justice, recently left the company. Meanwhile, several other former Stadia employees have joined a new studio run by former Stadia Games & Entertainment head Jade Raymond, as spotted by a user of the Resetera gaming forum.

Google announced it had hired Raymond in 2019 to lead its SG&E division and build exclusives for its new cloud-based gaming platform. But in February of this year, Google announced it would shut the internal division and focus on working with existing developers. 

Raymond, a Ubisoft veteran known for her work on the Assassin's Creed and Watch Dogs franchises, announced she would leave Google at that time, while Stadia head Phil Harrison said that Google would help the SG&E team find new roles at the company.

Some staff who have joined Haven, the new studio, were part of the same SG&E team. They include former Stadia UX researcher Jonathan Dankoff, concept artists Francis Denoncourt and Erwann Le Rouzic, and the former head of Stadia creative services Corey May.

Sebastien Peul, a former Stadia general manager, is also listed as a co-founder of Raymond's new studio on LinkedIn. While the studio is new, it has already secured an exclusive deal with Sony to develop new intellectual property for PlayStation.

Stadia got off to a rocky start, with missing features and a small number of available titles. Game developers and publishers told Insider that Google didn't offer them enough money, while some were concerned Google wouldn't stick with the platform in the long run.

Insider has approached Google for comment.

Are you a current or former Stadia employee with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram (+1-628-228-1836) or encrypted email (hslangley@protonmail.com). Reach out using a nonwork device.