Google is shutting down Stadia, its cloud gaming service. The service will remain live for players until January 18th, 2023. Google will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchased through the Google Store as well as all the games and add-on content purchased from the Stadia store. Google expects those refunds will be completed in mid-January.
“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” Stadia vice president and GM Phil Harrison said in a blog post. “And while Stadia’s approach to streaming games for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service.” Employees on the Stadia team will be distributed to other parts of the company.
Harrison says Google sees opportunities to apply Stadia’s technology to other parts of Google, like YouTube, Google Play, and its AR efforts, and the company also plans to “make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed,” he wrote.
Google detailed some of the finer points of the shutdown in an FAQ. Refunds will automatically be made through the Google and Stadia stores, and you won’t have to return any hardware. Stadia Pro subscriptions will not be eligible for a refund, but you will not be charged during the shutdown period and can access games you might have redeemed as a Pro user until everything is wound down. Google has closed the Stadia store, so you can’t buy games or in-game transactions.
Stadia has been facing rumors of its demise practically from the start
The writing has been on the wall for Stadia for a while now, most recently when Logitech announced its new cloud gaming handheld last week and Stadia was one of the few cloud gaming services not mentioned. But Stadia has been facing rumors of its demise practically from the start. Google has a habit of killing projects only a few years after they launch, and Stadia, a cloud gaming service from a company with few ties in the gaming industry, seemed like a prime candidate for an early demise.
Last year, rumors abounded it would shut down after the number of games released to the platform slowed and the company shuttered its in-house game development studios. When those rumors popped up again this year, Google insisted that Stadia was not shutting down. “Rest assured we’re always working bringing more great games to the platform and Stadia Pro,” the company said in a tweet. Which was true... until today.
Microsoft, which has also invested heavily in cloud gaming, declined to comment. Nvidia (which makes the GeForce Now cloud gaming service) and AT&T (which used the Stadia tech to power a couple game trials) didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Update September 29th, 2:05PM ET: Microsoft declined to comment.