Google Stadia director for games Jack Buser has left the company to work for Google Cloud. Buser will head up Cloud’s gaming arm as the new Director of Global Gaming Solutions, according to a new report from ZDNet.
Buser will begin his tenure at Cloud on September 13, where he’ll report directly to Google Cloud Vice President of Industry Solutions Lori Mitchell-Keller.
“Jack’s hire illustrates Google Cloud’s continued investment into our global, customer-first gaming strategy, and his five years at Google will help open doors for broader strategic partnerships with customers across YouTube, Stadia, and more,” Mitchell-Keller said in a statement to ZDNet. “Jack brings 20 years of experience within the industry as well as a unique blend of business and technical knowledge to further expand our ability to serve gaming customers.”
News of Buser’s departure from Stadia comes just a few months after Stadia’s Head of Product John Justice left the company, which happened just two days before it was revealed that six key Stadia staff members had left the company to join Haven Entertainment Studios.
Buser’s departure follows a string of departures likely spurred on by Stadia shutting down its internal game studios back in February, which reportedly happened in part because of the Microsoft-Bethesda acquisition that happened earlier this year.
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However, other reports cite additional development details and issues, such as “tens of millions” spent on AAA ports, as major reasons for the closure of Stadia’s internal studios.
A Google spokesperson told IGN in a statement, “Gaming is an incredibly important vertical at Google and we’re seeing huge momentum across all products and services. Jack’s new role will allow us to better bring customers the best of Google across our Cloud services, Stadia, YouTube, and more. Stadia continues to be led by its GM Phil Harrison, and Stadia’s business development and partner management teams will continue to be led by Michael Abbattista, who took over the role in 2020.”
Buser’s departure points further to Stadia’s overall pivot to marketing itself as a platform for third-party companies to use as a cloud gaming platform, rather than an actual house for game development. Buser’s Stadia role was likely more aligned to the Stadia of old — the Stadia interested in developing its own games and becoming a platform not unlike PlayStation, Xbox, and the like — so his departure isn’t all that surprising, as noted by ZDNet.
A Cloud spokesperson told the publication that the company “sees incredible momentum across all industries, and gaming is one of the key verticals we are investing in.” It seems Buser will help lead Cloud’s charge into gaming.
Google says Buser’s hire will help the company develop new relationships with game publishers and developers while also connecting players to Google’s wider suite of services. It also says that Buser’s departure from Stadia will actually help Stadia because it will give Buser the chance to create more partnerships and product opportunities across Stadia and Cloud.
For more about Stadia, read about how the service finally has a search bar and then read about how Xbox Series X|S consoles are getting an updated browser that can play games via Google Stadia. Check out this story about how Google, Id, and Bungie are the subjects of a Stadia lawsuit after that.
Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.
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