Google is Shutting Down Stadia and Refunding Everyone’s Money
Google has announced that Stadia will be shut down on January 18, 2023. By the middle of January 2023, all hardware bought through Google Store and all games and add-ons bought through Stadia will be refunded.
Players can still play their Google Stadia games for now, but they won’t be able to after mid-January. However, the Stadia controller should still work as a wired controller for PC games that don’t use Stadia.
Phil Harrison, Google’s Vice President and General Manager of Stadia, wrote in a blog post about the shutdown that Google will “refund all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, as well as all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store.”
Google says it expects to have the “majority” of refunds done by the middle of January. It also has a page in its help center that answers questions about how Stadia will work in its last few months and gives some details about how refunds will be handled. Full information hasn’t been released yet, but Google says it will tell players more about how to get their money back in the coming weeks.
An Expected Shutdown
Google Stadia got off to what you could call a rough start in November 2019, when it launched in “early access” mode without many of the best features that had been promised in ads for the service. These included most of its social and multiplayer features, like achievements, Crowd Play, which lets viewers play with streamers they’re watching, and Family Sharing, which lets families share games.
Even so, Google said it would keep working on Stadia and make it a gaming platform that players would love as much as their console.
Google told Stadia fans in a tweet on July 29, 2022, that “Stadia is not closing down” and that it would keep working on the platform and bring great games to it.
Over time, Google added many of the features that were missing when Stadia first came out. On top of that, it added a few games that could only be played on that platform. It also added games from companies other than Google to the Stadia library.
But the changes were never quite enough to keep up with competitors like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Nvidia GeForce Now in the game streaming market.
When Google shut down its own studios for making games in February 2021, it was the first sign that Stadia was having trouble. Google says that the reason for the move was to free up resources so that the company could build the Google Stadia platform on its own.
Now, it looks like Google is shutting down the whole platform to free up resources for its other projects. In a blog post, Phil Harrison said that Stadia’s underlying technology has clear uses for YouTube, Google Play, and its growing augmented reality efforts. This suggests that Stadia will live on in some way.
Stadia didn’t change, even though it had some good games in its library. Google shut down its own development studio in 2021, which was a sign that the company was moving away from Stadia in its gaming plans.
Stadia also had a lot of competition in the cloud gaming market. Xbox, PlayStation, Nvidia, and Amazon all had alternatives to Stadia.
It hasn’t been a total loss for the company, and Harrison says the tech can be used for YouTube, Google Play, and its augmented reality (AR) projects.
Google’s business partners will also be able to use this tech. In 2015, Sony got a head start on its own streaming service by buying the patents of an early game streaming service, OnLive, just before the once-promising startup shut down.
We don’t know exactly what this technology will become, but we do know that after January 18, 2023, it won’t be used to power Google’s cloud gaming platform anymore.