With Stadia, Google’s cloud gaming service, coming to an end. Players will have access to the service until January 18, 2023. All Stadia hardware bought via the Google Shop will be refunded, as will any games or downloadable material bought from the Stadia store. By mid-January, Google hopes to have finished processing those returns.
“A few years back, we also created a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” said Stadia VP and GM Phil Harrison on the company’s blog. Even while the technology behind Stadia’s consumer-facing approach to streaming games was solid, the service hasn’t been as well received by gamers as we had hoped. As a result, we’ve had to make the tough choice to start shutting it down. The Stadia team’s employees will be redistributed to other departments inside the corporation.
According to Harrison, Google aims to “make it available to our industry partners,” which “aligns with where we envision the future of gaming heading,” and which might include YouTube, Google Play, and its augmented reality projects.
In a frequently asked questions document, Google explained some of the more nuanced aspects of the shutdown. You don’t need to send any hardware back to get a refund through the Google and Stadia marketplaces.
Although you will not be able to get a refund on your Stadia Pro membership, you will not be charged during the closure time and will have access to any titles you may have redeemed as a Pro user up until the service is shut down completely. The Stadia shop is no longer available, and with it, the ability to purchase games and in-game currency.
For some time now, the writing has been on the wall for Stadia, and last week, when Logitech launched their new cloud gaming portable, Stadia was one of the few cloud gaming services not mentioned. But tales of Stadia’s death have circulated almost since the platform’s inception.
As a cloud gaming service from a firm with minimal links in the gaming industry, Stadia appeared like a great candidate for early death, given Google’s history of cancelling initiatives only a few years after they start.
After fewer games were developed on the platform and the business closed its in-house game development facilities, speculation grew last year that the service would be discontinued. This year, Google again faced allegations that Stadia was being shut down, but the company repeatedly denied the claims. In a tweet, the business promised that “more excellent games” will be coming to the platform and Stadia Pro. True… until just now.
A spokesperson for Microsoft, which has also spent extensively on cloud gaming, said nothing. Requests for comment from Nvidia (makers of the GeForce Now cloud gaming service) and AT&T (which powered a few game trials with Stadia technology) went unanswered at press time.