Google’s cloud streaming console is going to that big place in the sky. The technology giant announced that it is killing Google Stadia on January 18, 2023, rendering the platform completely useless.
Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison announced the shutdown on Google’s blog, noting that Stadia hadn’t performed up to the company’s expectations. And since the platform depends entirely on servers being up, users won’t be able to access their games after Stadia dies. However, Google is giving out refunds for all Stadia hardware (which includes consoles and controllers) purchased on the Google Store and all games and DLC purchased through the Stadia store. Harrison said they expected the refunds to be done by mid-January 2023 and more details are in its Help Center.
The Help Center isn’t fully fleshed out yet, but does have more tidbits. Since most games don’t support cross-platform progression, it won’t be possible to transfer progress to other platforms. Pro subscriptions are not refundable, though, yet those subscribers will still have access to their Pro library titles. Refunds are not going to be through physical stores and users don’t have to send “most” hardware back in order to get money back. Those who paid with gift cards or defunct payment methods will be able to get a refund, but said users have to keep an eye on their inbox for a special email.
Harrison praised the core technology by saying Google saw clear opportunities to apply it to both deals with outside companies and other parts of the company like YouTube, Google Play, and its various augmented efforts. Google will also invest in new tools and technologies and remains “deeply committed to gaming.” Many of those on the Stadia team have also been working for other parts of the company, too.
This complete termination of service was seemingly inevitable. Google shut down all internal studios in February 2021. Harrison stated the company was shifting its resources to expand its efforts in helping developers and publishers “take advantage of [its] platform technology and deliver games directly to their players,” essentially shelving its development initiatives to help other teams instead (which it did by turning Stadia into a white-label product used by other companies). Many leads also left Stadia shortly after.
Multiple outlets reported that Google didn’t fully support the idea and spent a ton of money locking up previously released games and trying to attract talent to develop titles, a strategy that didn’t draw in enough users. This also led to a lot of canceled projects or games that had to find new homes, as reported on by Video Games Chronicle and Axios. Games from Kojima Productions, Yu Suzuki, Typhoon Studio, former Ubisoft developer Francois Pelland, and Harmonix were among the parties with canceled games. The Quarry and High on Life were reportedly two games that had to find new publishers.