Google Stadia is dead
Google has finally called time on its maligned cloud gaming service, offering full refunds to customers
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: RIP Google Stadia
😵 Google Stadia is officially shutting down on January 18, 2023
💰 Anyone who bought Stadia hardware or any games or add-ons will receive a full refund
⌛ Google expects to have the majority of refunds completed by mid-January 2023
☠️ Google Stadia launched in November 2019 but failed to deliver on many of its promised features
Google has officially killed off its Stadia streaming service, which only launched in November 2019. Players can access their games library and continue playing on Stadia until January 18, 2023. After that, the service will be no more.
In a blog post, vice president and general manager Phil Harrison admitted that Stadia hadn’t “gained the traction with users that we expected,” which has ultimately led to the company’s decision to shut the cloud gaming service down for good.
To Google’s credit, it’s promised to refund anyone who has purchased Stadia hardware, games, or add-ons and said that refunds should be completed by mid-January 2023. However, Stadia Pro subscriptions, which gave members access to free games each month, will not be refunded. You’ll no longer be able to buy any new Stadia games as of today, either, as Google has shut down the Stadia store.
People have been ringing the death knell for Stadia for quite some time, so this announcement has felt like a many of when not if. That didn’t stop the official Google Stadia Twitter account from moving to allay fears in July after rumors spread that Google had secretly agreed to kill it off.
Despite Stadia’s closure, which has already been added to the Killed By Google graveyard, Phil Harrison believes that the technology powering Stadia will be put to good use in the future.
“We see clear opportunities to apply this technology across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality (AR) efforts — as well as make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed. We remain deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators.”
Unfortunately for Stadia, the writing was on the wall early on. Many of the promised features never came to the platform, like being able to find a game on YouTube and then play it through Stadia. Awkwardly, you’ll soon be able to play games from Amazon Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Xbox Cloud Gaming from Google Search, a feature Stadia would greatly have benefited from if it launched years ago.
Google also shut down its in-house studios that were working on Stadia games last year, meaning no original content would ever come to the platform, and all but waved the white flag in the process.
Bad news for cloud gaming?
Stadia’s demise comes at a time when cloud gaming is arguably taking off. We’ve seen Amazon Luna, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Nvidia GeForce Now slowly find an audience, to the point where Samsung is integrating the services into their 2022 TVs. We’ve even seen a dedicated cloud gaming handheld in the form of the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld.
But unlike Stadia, these services have always been pitched more like a complementary addition to local gaming.
Stadia was always a hard sell as Google wanted people to buy games digitally and pay for a subscription to play them at the best image quality. The model never really made sense, even if you didn’t have to pay a large sum for a console up front. It didn’t help that any graphical power advantage that Stadia had compared to PS4 Pro and Xbox One X was quickly made obsolete by the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, and games regularly failed to hit the promised resolution of 4K.
Developers quickly stopPED releasing their games on Stadia, and the end result is the death of a service that’s not even three years old.
So long, Stadia. We hardly knew ye.
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