Google kills Stadia by refunding all purchases

The Stadia CEO shows off the controller on stage at a big Google presentation.

A photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Google is shutting down video game streaming service, StadiaJanuary 18, 2023, the company announced today. All purchases will be refunded and the technology will continue to be used for YouTube and other parts of the business, but the consumer-facing app and store will close less than five years after its launch. cemetery of other projects Google refused.

“While Stadia’s approach to consumer game streaming was built on a solid technology foundation, it didn’t get the user adoption we hoped it would, so we made the difficult decision to start phasing out our Stadia streaming service,” Stadia VP. 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, and all game and add-on purchases made through the Stadia Store. Players will still have access to their game library and play through January 18, 2023 to complete their final game sessions.”

The gaming industry veteran went on to say that the refund should be completed by mid-January and noted that while Stadia diesthe technology behind it will continue to be available to “industry partners” for other joint ventures such as AT&T’s recent attempt Batman: Arkham Knight to smartphones via streaming. Signs that Google was ready to go free had been appearing for some time, but one of the most surprising was that Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed Mirage will appear on the Amazon Luna service, but not on Stadia, the first game in the blockbuster series to do so.

Google talked about big game when Stadia was first unveiled at the 2019 Game Developers Conference, but by the time the service launched later that year, it was clear that he wasn’t ready for prime time. The technology was impressive, but the promised features were missing and the launcher library wasn’t very impressive. While Stadia kept adding new games, most of them had to be bought off the menu, making it a cool investment for the casual audience it was aimed at. Then came the Xbox Game Pass, bringing together a huge library with a single monthly payment. Meanwhile, Stadia has reportedly struggled to get big games on its platform. spend tens of millions to attract titles like red dead redemption 2.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Stadia was doomed from the start. Google’s track record and Stadia’s own past call into question whether it was ever properly committed to this ambitious endeavor. Stadia’s own studios closed last year, freezing projects that were still in development and leaving some developers who have moved across the country for the company feeling betrayed. At that time, Kotaku informed that Harrison told Stadia employees that Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda was one of the reasons for the closure, convincing Google that the cost of participating in development of its own development was more than it was willing to pay.

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

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