Google Killing Stadia, refund of all purchases

A Stadia official shows off the controller on stage during Google's big showcase.

Photo: justin sullivan (Getty Images)

Google closes its video game streaming service, Stadia, on January 18, 2023, the company announced today. All purchases will be refunded and the technology will still be used for YouTube and other parts of its business, but the app and consumer storefront will be shut down for less than five years after launch, joining the graveyard of other discontinued projects. by Google. .

“And while Stadia’s approach to consumer game streaming was built on a solid technology foundation, it didn’t gain the user buy-in we expected, so we made the difficult decision to start terminating our Stadia streaming service,” Stadia’s vice president said. , Phil Harrison, wrote in a blog post. “We are grateful to the dedicated Stadia players who have been with us since the beginning. We will refund all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, as well as all game and add-on purchases made through the Stadia store. Players will continue to have access to their game library and play until January 18, 2023 so that they can complete the last game sessions.”

The gaming industry veteran went on to say that refunds should be complete by mid-January, and noted that while Stadia is dyingthe underlying technology will still be available to “industry partners” for other joint ventures, such as AT&T’s recent attempt to bring Batman: Arkham Knight to smartphones via streaming.

Google talked about a massive game when Stadia was first unveiled at the 2019 Game Developer Conference, but it was clear by the time the service launched later that year that it wasn’t. ready for prime time. The technology was impressive but the promised features were lacking and the launch library was not very impressive. Although Stadia continued to add new games, most had to be purchased a la carte, making it a significant investment for the casual audience it was intended for. Then Xbox Game Pass arrived and married a huge library with a single monthly subscription.

Of course, none of this is to say Stadia was doomed from the start. Google’s track record and Stadia’s own past call into question whether it ever properly embarked on this ambitious undertaking. Stadia’s first-party studios shut down last year, scuttling projects that were still in pre-production and leaving some developers who had moved across the country for the company feeling betrayed. At the time, Kotaku reported that Harrison told Stadia staff that Microsoft was buying Bethesda was one of the reasons for the shutdowns, convincing Google that the price of competition in first-party development was more than it wanted to pay.

“We remain deeply committed to gaming and will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that fuel the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators,” Harrison wrote in today’s blog post.