Update – May 7, 2021: According to John’s LinkedIn profile, he is now officially Vice President at Facebook! Definitely a surprise to me when I saw this, so I wanted to update you all as well.
According to The Information and reported by 9to5Google, Stadia’s “superhero” John Justice has officially left Google for unknown reasons. John has acted as Stadia’s VP and Head of Product up until now, and his departure is a bit surprising since he’s sort of been the face of the initiative. He’s also shown the most enthusiasm and appeared in the most interviews regarding the service and its content.
According to a Google spokesperson who replied to 9to5Google after they reached out for confirmation on this, John truly has headed on to something different for his career. All that we known about why he’s left the company at this time is that Google may be looking to give product managers more authority and to move away from the idea of engineers running the show. I’m unsure what this will look like moving forward, but the article that we referenced above from The Information cites last month’s Search restructure, headed by SVP Prabhakar Raghavan as a potential reason for this decision.
We can confirm John is no longer with Google and we wish him well on his next step.Google Spokesperson
I know that John Justice leaving Google is going to cause some waves for Stadia in the public eye, but I want to make something clear right now – this tells us pretty much nothing about how the service will or won’t be affected. With that being said, we should be slow to pass judgment on this move despite its appearance and the platform’s track record for decision-making as of late. I’ll update this article when we hear more regarding John’s departure, and what impact it could have on Stadia. Until then – if such a time comes – let’s not jump to any conclusions.
After having launched several new features this past week, such as a real (really real) search bar at the top of your cloud gaming console, a new library organization method, and an awesome social media-style activity feed inbound, I think it’s safe to say that someone choosing to change careers – even someone as core to Stadia’s operation as John – shouldn’t be taken as handwriting on the wall just yet. There may be just as many personal reasons for such a move that could have gone into the decision as there are corporate reasons.